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  1. #1

    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*
    I offer you perfume,
    More for its pleasure than for yours;
    You perfume perfume.

    --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 05:30 AM.
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  5. #5
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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

    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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  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...

  13. #13
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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
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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 07:25 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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  16. #16

    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

    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

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Annick Goutal Neroli

  22. #22
    rogalal's Avatar
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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 06:35 AM.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Dyptique L'eau Neroli

  24. #24
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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.

  25. #25
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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.

  26. #26
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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 04:48 AM.

  27. #27
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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 03:12 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 03:53 AM.
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  30. #30

    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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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by mtgprox05 View Post
    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.
    Did you pick up that every-scent-available-by-Annick-Goutal special edition sample pack they just e-mailed about? That one screamed my name, as I only actually have one AG sample. But then I'm just never very excited when I smell them in stores, so I ended up passing. But it seemed like a good deal and an easy way to get a house completed, from a collecting samples standpoint.

    Anyway, today I sampled Thierry Mugler B*Men.



    I might lose some niche-snob credibility here, but this has been the most comfortable, enjoyable chocolate patchouli I've ever tried. I'd take this in a heartbeat over the weird-for-the-sake-of-weird Borneo 1834.

    On the skin, I got patchouli with some oranges and some fresh dirt. With time, it took on a cinnamon raisin quality, to the point of smelling a bit like graham crackers and raspberry jam by the afternoon. But the silage throughout was a really nice, not-weird, not-too-sweet chocolate patchouli.

    Thankfully, B*Men manages to ditch everything I disliked about A*Men (the out-of-place lavender and the sticky-sweet overtones are nowhere to be found).

    I'd easily recommend B*Men for someone looking for a nice, non-hippy patchouli or a chocolate scent.
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  32. #32

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    ^^^ Nah, I'm not a big fan of AG, too old-school french for my tastes. I've tried a few, but they all don't enthuse me.
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  33. #33
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Today I tested Creed Virgin Island Water.



    This has to be the least-Creed Creed I’ve ever tested. It’s a warm-weather favorite on the womens’ board, and that’s probably why (the ladies of BN don’t seem to be all that enthused about GIT and its ilk…).

    Virgin Island Water kicked off with pleasant coconut silage over citrusy pineapple. With time, the coconut morphed into fig leaf, with undertones of tarragon. The smell on my skin got spicier with time, using the subtle darkness of star anise to play with the tarragon, giving a background depth to a fragrance that could easily have been a silly little girl coconut bomb.

    I can see how some of the ladies here like this as fun little hot-weather refresher. But, as a fully grown man, it feels kind of like a silly novelty on me. All in all, sniffing closely, I can see that some thought and care was put into this, but the big coconut/fig silage is just too fun and girly for me to feel like I can be taken seriously wearing it.

    Recommended for ladies with a sense of playfulness, young girls, or maybe as a fun vacation scent, but Creed or not, I can’t imagine anyone wearing this to a board meeting…
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  34. #34

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    I'm too tired right now to review some of the ones I've extensively tested recently, so I'll do a couple of quickies.

    Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis- Five seconds in.... this is great! This could be my fresh summer scent! 10 seconds in....... and I'm bored. 20 seconds in...... and now I'm starting to get annoyed. Fresh laundry is one of the greatest smells in the world, I have no need to smell like it over a long period, not to mention, this stuff REALLY smells like laundry, do you know how weird it would appear to a bystander to smell someone clearly smelling of laundry?

    Frederic Malle Outrageous!- Outrageously disgusting. I was intrigued by the concept even after trying it a couple of years ago, so I went to try it again during a recent mall trip. It's the fragrant equivalent of sucking on a piece of metal. If that sounds disgusting, it's because it is.

    Parfumerie Generale Cologne Grand Siecle - I've been searching for an EDC-like refreshing scent to apply during the Summer, I was hoping this would fit the bill, since I'm generally a fan of PG, but this was a big YAWN. Lemon plus herbs, next!
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  35. #35

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Re: Aqua Universalis, I liked it at first. The first wearing I thought it was nice - a contender even for a clean/casual 'fresh scent.' But that laundry-esque musk note is a persistent bugger. 12 hours later I could still smell it, strongly, and with each passing hour it grew more synthetic as the supporting notes evaporated away. This along with Cologne Pour Le Soir are my least favorite of the MFK line. I graciously award them 3 stars although to be honest I think they deserve barely over two.

    btw Mtgprox, you should really update your list of tried scents. I'm always intrigued to see just how you rate things.
    Last edited by SculptureOfSoul; 19th March 2010 at 05:39 AM.
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  36. #36

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    3 from Bois1920. -Agrumi Amari Di Sicilia, and 2 new: Vento di Fiori and Come La Luna.

  37. #37

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    Re: Aqua Universalis, I liked it at first. The first wearing I thought it was nice - a contender even for a clean/casual 'fresh scent.' But that laundry-esque musk note is a persistent bugger. 12 hours later I could still smell it, strongly, and with each passing hour it grew more synthetic as the supporting notes evaporated away. This along with Cologne Pour Le Soir are my least favorite of the MFK line. I graciously award them 3 stars although to be honest I think they deserve barely over two.

    btw Mtgprox, you should really update your list of tried scents. I'm always intrigued to see just how you rate things.
    I know I should, and keep meaning to do so. The problem is I forget to update right when I try something and then I forget what I tried. So it takes me quite a while to go through my samples to find what I didn't rate, but I'll get around to doing it soon enough.
    Last edited by mtgprox05; 19th March 2010 at 09:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Yes, updated wardrobes are a good thing. I just click "tried" on something as soon as I get a sample, and leave the stars blank until I've actually worn something for a whole day (or more, if I'm confused or undecided). It seems like the most anal possible way...

    Today I tested Soie Rouge by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier.



    Apparently, Soie Rouge is part of a late-80's experiment in which MPG tried to eschew traditional old-school ladies' perfume notes in favor of realistic fruits and flowers. While they never seem to get credit for it (or want credit for it), they basically invented the modern fruity floral about a decade before the genre even became a genre.

    Soie Rouge is primarily a carnation scent. For those who don't know, carnation pretty much smells like cloves, but a pinch more bubble-gummy and sweeter. It's paired with apple in the top, which fades to peach in the heart. There's a sort of white smell in there, too, that's somewhere between baby powder and soap. The powdery/soapy carnation brings to mind Caron's Poivre, but the apple/peach is very now, so Soie Rouge is kind of a yin/yang mix of classic "old-lady" and modern sweet fruit that pretty much works, but has a slightly awkward time in the heartnotes where it feels kind of like a weird but pleasant layering experiment, as opposed to an elegantly composed singular work.

    Given a few hours, the whole thing settles into a pleasant, cohesive whole that basically smells like old-school fancy soaps, scented with fruit and spice (imagine the little miniature flower-shaped guest soaps your grandma didn't want you using...). By the evening, the fruit and the soapiness have faded, leaving a mix of Red Hots candy and clove cigarrettes.

    As a historical document, I can appreciate Soie Rouge. It makes perfect sense as the middle point between powdery clovey old-school French perfumes and the modern sweet fruity candied scents. For some who are fans of one of these genres but not the other, it may be a fun bridge into something new. Personally, as a fan of neither one, Soie Rouge doesn't hold that much appeal for me, aside from my general love of all things clove-related.

    Recommended for fans of older clovey scents (like Poivre or Diptyque's original L'Eau) looking for something brighter and just a bit "newer-smelling" or for someone looking for something pleasant and fruity but with a bit more of a classic structure as opposed to the silly candied vanilla backbone given to most current fruity florals.
    Last edited by rogalal; 19th March 2010 at 11:46 PM.
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  39. #39

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    Today I tested Creed Virgin Island Water.

    I can see how some of the ladies here like this as fun little hot-weather refresher. But, as a fully grown man, it feels kind of like a silly novelty on me. All in all, sniffing closely, I can see that some thought and care was put into this, but the big coconut/fig silage is just too fun and girly for me to feel like I can be taken seriously wearing it.

    Recommended for ladies with a sense of playfulness, young girls, or maybe as a fun vacation scent, but Creed or not, I can’t imagine anyone wearing this to a board meeting…

    Yeah, I like it sometimes, but it always feels like I'm wearing some big silly hat or wide polka dotted tie or something.
    Total costume perfumery. I will probably use up my little decant, but I would never go through a whole bottle.

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  40. #40
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by SlimPickins View Post
    Yeah, I like it sometimes, but it always feels like I'm wearing some big silly hat or wide polka dotted tie or something.
    Total costume perfumery. I will probably use up my little decant, but I would never go through a whole bottle.

    -Slim
    I like it. It goes well with my polka dot bikini.
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    This evening, I tested Tom Ford Urban Musk.



    I have yet to like or even see the point of these Tom Ford Private Collection musks. Urban Musk isn't changing my mind...

    Really, I kind of think white musk as a perfume is kind of dumb. In terms of the world of scents, it's "plain" in the same sense that water is "plain" - Sure, water technically has a flavor, but we just sort of accept it as being a blank slate. White musk has a distinct smell, but it's used as an odorant in so many "plain" or "unscented" products (like white soap or deodorant or laundry products) that it hardly even registers as a distinct smell. As such, in a perfume sprayed on skin, it registers more as a freshly-washed soapy body smell more than a perfume.

    Urban Musk kicks off with that white musk, of course, with noticeable vanilla and a light application of a funkier musk, which hovers somewhere between actual musk funk and a sort of papery rosewood. With a REALLY heavy application, some other nuances come through - lemon in the topnotes, with a tiny pinch of minty freshness and some subtle white flowers playing in the background. But it's mostly just a vanilla musk.

    It dies down to just the white musk after about half an hour, meaning that it basically smells like nothing. Or like a freshly-washed patch of skin, to be more accurate.

    I find Urban Musk kind of pointless as a perfume (unless the point is to spend hundreds of dollars on a "luxury" perfume that no one will ever notice or be offended by, which seems to be the whole White Musk series' actual raison d'être). If you like the idea of a vanilla musk, please hunt down a sample of the much cheaper and vastly superior Love's True Blueish Light by Ava Luxe. If you want that papery funk, check out Vamp. Ava Luxe has a magic touch when it comes to musks, while I'm afraid Tom Ford's magic touch has a lot more to do with making a profit than crafting a fine musk perfume.
    Last edited by rogalal; 20th March 2010 at 03:15 AM.
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  42. #42

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by petruccijc View Post
    I like it. It goes well with my polka dot bikini.
    You are dating yourself with that comment! (I guess I am as well with my recognition of same.)
    And this thread reminds me that I MUST categorize and review my recent samples. Homme or Femme.
    Last edited by actiasluna; 20th March 2010 at 03:39 AM.
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  43. #43
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Today I sampled Atelier d'Artiste by Nez à Nez.



    A perfect example of a true "niche" scent. The company who makes it is tiny, it's hard to find, the scent's purpose is clearly to be artful as opposed to commercially popular, and it's so uniquely interesting that it's actually it bit awkward to wear. All in all, only a very small niche of the perfume market will ever buy this (or even hear about it).

    For the first few of hours, Atelier d'Artiste is mainly about a distinctive mix of tobacco, coffee, and wood. The tobacco is somewhere between the pipe tobacco made famous by SDV or Tobacco Vanille and the smell of a freshly-opened pack of cigarettes. Through the heart, the coffee is more of a darkness than a specific note. And the wood is a sort of antique teak wood mixed with cherry wood. There's a shot of lavender in the top, perhaps intended as a brightener or a little wink to A*Men's groundbreaking coffee/lavender/patchouli mixture. There's also a non-distinct sweet berry in there (listed in the notes as raspberry and grapes), giving a fruity sweet quality to the tobacco. Also included is caraway, which give a weirdly-disconcerting note of rye bread. And booze. And later on it becomes a coffee/amber/patchouli.

    So that's a lot of notes - what does it smell like? Well, it's very distinctive. Through the heart, the silage was a pretty kick-ass fruity woodsy very-expensive cigar smell. The smell on skin was where it really got wacky, however. Have you ever been into a really, really old bar that at one time was very fancy? There's that smell of old wood panelling and antique furniture that have spent decades soaking up the smells of stale booze, coffee, and cigarette smoke. Or, have you ever smelled a house after a flood? When there's rot and mold in the walls. Imagine a smell that's sort of the old bar smell and sort of the flooded house smell, but with fruit on top and a shot of rye bread making the whole thing even weirder.

    Given time, a nice patchouli/amber swells up and swallows pretty much everything but the coffee note, leaving a nice sweet-but-not-gourmand base.

    Atelier d'Artiste keeps reminding me of L'Artisan's Passage d'Enfer, with its spot-on recreation of the smell of a Chinese antique and herb store. It's not that they smell alike (though they do share that boozy antique wood aroma). It's that both of them strike me as incredibly well made, very interesting scents that I admire, but don't necessarily want to walk around smelling like. Aftelier goes a long way to quench that, though, by somehow keeping a lot of the weirdness out of the silage, so those around you won't really smell the rye bread or the floorboard mold, so I'll give it credit for that.

    All things considered, I'd definitely recommend sampling Atelier d'Artiste. For those making the leap into heavy niche, it's a great example of a really well-made scent that wants to be real art instead of just existing for the commonplace functionality of making someone smell perfumed. For those with a fully-developed taste for the adventurous, Atelier could easily be grail material, especially it your tastes run towards coffee, tobacco, or out-there woody scents.
    Last edited by rogalal; 21st March 2010 at 05:42 AM.
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  44. #44

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition




    Martine Micallef Shanaan

    If it's not oud, as the flavor of the moment in the fragrance world, than it most certainly is incense. EVERY house must throw their interpretation of the theme into an already over-crowded pool of incense fragrances, and this is M. Micallef's entry. The opening is a veritable cacophony of high quality frankincense, it's crystal clear, and cool, very reminiscent (to my nose) of the incense of CDG Kyoto. I find Kyoto's incense strident and chilly, and I feel the same about Shanaan, at least in the beginning. There are two directions, I've found, that houses tend to go with their incense fragrances. There are the steel-y, sometimes church-y , smoky incense, a la Kyoto and Zagorsk. Then there are the incenses juxtaposed against warm, sweet basenotes, like my personal favorite Josef Statkus. Well, Shanaan, represents a neat duality, moving from one of these types of incenses to the other. The top notes, I find void of much sweetness at all, like I said reminding me very much of Kyoto. But, in a bizarre magic act, the almost incense soliflore of the topnotes begins to crumble, revealing a lovely cedar and vanilla base, with small remnants of the incense from the topnotes rounding out the new accord. It almost feels as if you're wearing two completely different fragrances with Shanaan. I can't really think of any other fragrance in which I've experienced such a drastic evolution as I did with Shanaan, yet that being said, I much prefer Josef Statkus to this. I do like it, and find it to use high quality ingredients, but it's bizarre and aloof, and not really friendly, if you know what I mean. If I want that cold incense, I'll choose Kyoto, and if I want my warm and cozy incense I'll choose Josef Statkus, I don't really need them both in the same fragrance. By the way, it's a stunning bottle isn't it?
    Last edited by mtgprox05; 22nd March 2010 at 02:04 AM.
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  45. #45
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by mtgprox05 View Post
    By the way, it's a stunning bottle isn't it?
    Have you seen one in person? I haven't. I could see it feeling cheap if it's too light, but really nice if it has that heavy crystal feel. Someday I just need to make the 8 hour dive to ScentBar and see everything there...

    Anyway, A couple of days ago, I tested Green by Byredo.



    Green is one of those scents I’ve smelled many times in the store, and always found kind of gross. But I’m not one to turn down a free sample, so I took one the last time I bought something at Barneys and figured I might as well give it a chance.

    Thankfully, all that dark, mossy grossness somehow magically transformed to something wonderful on my skin. Imagine a bag of fresh lawn clippings, but distilled down to a deep, dark, concentrated essence. Then top that with a pinch of citrus and some Malle-esque sharp, medicinal vetiver (just enough to provide the needed brightness, not enough to smell like a moldy old hospital). The end result was a surprisingly-balanced dark (but not gloomy) green. I’ve never smelled really upfront galbanum before, but that’s apparently the major component of this. I now consider myself a big fan.

    Then, after about 15 minutes, the whole wonderful thing collapsed. In some sort of horrifying perfume failure, the strong, vibrant top was almost instantaneously replaced by a weak soapy base, still tinted green by the remaining galbanum and with some flowers adding to the soapy appeal. To be fair, the green soapy base is pleasant (kind of like a greener, less synthetic Mugler cologne with a renegade honeysuckle note giving it a little dirt). If the transcendent topnotes had slowly morphed into the floral green soapy base over the course of hours, I’d be shouting from the rooftops. But there’s a palpable sense of loss when the topnotes fade. And they’re so strong that they killed my nose, making it tough for me to even smell the base for a while, leaving an awkward olfactory silence before my nose readjusted to recognize the presence of the basenotes.

    So, in the end, I like the smell of Green. Really like it. But it’s an artistic winner that ends up losing on technical merit. If the potency of the base simply matched the topnotes, it would theoretically be a 5-star scent for me, but it falls into that trap where the top would be overpowering and terrifying if you sprayed enough to fully appreciate the basenotes (I find the same technical flaw in Rose 31, for example).

    I suppose I could keep spraying this over and over like a classic cologne, but, realistically, Byredo is just too expensive for that to be a reasonable option. I can only hope that some day they’ll come out with a Green Intense or something…
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  46. #46
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Yesterday I sampled Guerlain Heritage (the EDP formulation).


    (note: incorrect bottle probably pictured )

    Talk about a let-down.

    Maybe BN hype had me expecting way too much from Heritage, but this dusty cardboard box of “meh” certainly didn’t have me dancing for joy. To be fair, it did eventually dry down to a pleasant guerlinade base, but you can get that in waaaaaay better Guerlains than this.

    I wondered if Heritage was popular simply because it’s one of the very few sold-as-masculine Guerlains to have the guerlinade base (seriously, if that’s what you’re after, you’d be better off wandering over to the women’s side for L’Heure Bleue or Mitsouko, or the unisex Cologne du 68, or just save your pennies and track down a bottle of SDV).

    But then I saw MysteryBuff40’s great review, where he laid down the differences between the different formulations. Apparently, the current EDP is the lame duck and I should track down the classic EDT for lemony lavender goodness. Sadly, I’m not a big fan of aromatic lavender/lemon-topped classics, so I think I’ll skip it, but thanks for the advice! With the exception of Vetiver, I guess I’m a women’s Guerlain kind of guy…
    Last edited by rogalal; 24th March 2010 at 12:07 AM.
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Today I sampled The Different Company Un Parfum de Charmes et Feuilles.



    Charmes et Feuilles is described by The Different Company as a mystic shamanic garden, redolent of spices and flowers, especially sage and an especially indolic jasmine sambac. Honestly, this is one of those scents where I simply can’t match what I’m smelling to what it’s advertised as smelling like.

    In the top, I got a confusing flowery, fruit-juice-soaked cedar-filled hamster cage (complete with hamster pee – maybe that’s the indoles???) I love jasmine and sage, and couldn’t find them here to save my life. It stayed pretty linear, though the flowers faded and the whole thing came together more cohesively into a smell somewhere between a bag of pre-fertilized mulch and that chemically-treated bark you put on a flower bed to keep weeds from growing.

    If this were some sort of Demeter “Suburban Garden” scent, I’d give it 3 stars for accuracy, but I’m not really buying this as a hyper-expensive artsy niche scent. I guess they got the garden part of their description right, but it comes off as more of a chemically-treated 50’s American suburban flower bed than an enchanted garden of magic and fairies. Maybe my nose just isn’t ready for this, but Charmes et Feuilles just isn’t for me.
    Last edited by rogalal; 24th March 2010 at 12:09 AM.
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  48. #48

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    I have a feeling it's of high quality. I have a bottle of Micallef, though not the same bottle style, and it's very well made.
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  49. #49

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    I got my samples of Humiecki & Graef's Multiple Rouge, Geste and Askew.

    Askew~
    I get a medicinal top notes of Birch Tar and it is quickly mellowed out by the ginger and grapefruit. Egyptian mimosa comes in about 20 min..giving this Aqua Leather a wine cooler effect..Its crazy..I have to keep testing..
    Geste~
    soft amber, musk, soft violet petals, soft fir resin are the notes listed from luckyscent.com ... This opens with a clean laundry and fresh baked bread accord. Its weird because under those top notes a musky fir resin makes this feel like a clean dog was rubbing against you..but its GOOD..Fir Lovers would love this one...When they say soft amber and violets thats what you get...still testing tho...I love this one..
    Last edited by megatropolis; 24th March 2010 at 12:32 AM.

  50. #50
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Megatropolis, that Askew sounds really interesting. I like my birch tar, and pairing it with mimosa, ginger, and grapefruit?! I need to try that...

    Today I sampled Paul Smith Story.



    Why do some of the most expensive, exclusive designers out there have some of the most-discounted, cheaply-available scents? To the point that most anyone who buys this has probably never even heard of a Paul Smith suit...

    The top of Story seems to belong to the Mugler Cologne/Original Vetiver school of green citrus with just a touch of grassy vetiver. But Story uses grapefruit while its competition uses mostly neroli. In perfume, grapefruit can be tricky. There are notes in it that can smell downright putrid - some scents use the putrid qualities on purpose. Story uses the off notes. To the point where I smell the fetid qualities of the grapefruit more than the actual juicy fruit. It's paired with something salty, and some black pepper comes in, too. All together, Story is mostly just a nice, bright, green frag with a touch of salt. The funk is subtle, but definitely there (to the point that I didn't really enjoy the topnotes, but your experience may vary...).

    Given time, the salt and the grapefruit fade, leaving the black pepper and the vetiver. This vetiver heart is pretty nice, but Paul Smith keeps the background funk in place with some very subtle but discernable cumin. The overall smell is nice, but nose to arm, I get a stangely spiced brew that kind of reminds me of vetiver mixed with gravy.

    By the base, the pepper and the weird gravy have faded, leaving mostly vetiver, joined by some subtle woods.

    Honestly, if I had discovered Story when I was younger, I probably would have loved it, but now that I know its competition, I wouldn't bother. I'll stick to my Original Vetiver, thank you. But, to be fair, you could do a lot worse for $20 or so...
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  51. #51

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Sampled 3 today at Nordstrom:

    1) Terre d'Hermes Parfum - I've had this on a couple of hours and it seems like they improved upon everything I didn't like about the EdT... It's very similar with a few minor tweaks, but they seem to make all the difference... The EdT wasn't bottle worthy for me, but this very well could be...

    2) Burberry London Special Edition - The spiced apple in this make this even more of a Thanksgiving / holiday scent than the original. What I like about this one is that you can smell the progression from top to middle to base, whereas the original went from top to base very quickly. Interesting scent, but I don't think I'll be buying it...

    3) John Varvatos L'Artisan Black - I only sampled the original L'Artisan a few times when it came out, so maybe I don't have the frame of reference but this smells almost exactly like the original to me... Maybe it smells slightly less like a cleanser in the top notes and lasts a little longer overall, but otherwise very similar... JV is now 0 for 4 with me... The bottle looks great though...

  52. #52

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    That Micallef bottle almost looks stunning, except for that very Microsoft Word art type font used for "Shanaan." Is it just me or does that font look really cheap and tacky?
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  53. #53

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    That Micallef bottle almost looks stunning, except for that very Microsoft Word art type font used for "Shanaan." Is it just me or does that font look really cheap and tacky?
    I'm not going to lie, I didn't even see the Shanaan on there. Yea, it does sort of look cheap. Hmm, though I'm not really fashion forward, I'm really not the right person to comment on what is and isn't tacky, I wouldn't have the slightest clue of what type font would make it look better, but it doesn't really look like it fits right now.
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  54. #54
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Back from a quick (no time for sniffing - doh!) business trip where I alternated between Original Vetiver and Miyake's A Scent (which really grew on me in the heat of Miami), today I'm testing Guerlain L'Instant Magic.



    This is essentially a loukhoum scent, with its almond/rose/cherry/powdery vanilla mix. It starts off sweet and ends on more of a powdery almond note. As far as loukhoums go, L'Instant Magic is more wearable than most, because even at its sweetest, it's never THAT sweet, and it's never ridiculously powdery. If you like the idea of a loukhoum frag, but are turned off by the ridiculous powdery vanilla that usually defines the genre, I'd suggest L'Instant Magic as a more wearable alternative. Oh, and you can find it quite inexpensively online.

    Side note: This seems to be a flanker to the womens' L'Intant, not the mens. It doesn't have any of the fennel seed and, sadly, no guerlinade base.
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  55. #55

    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    I've recently sampled Frederic Malle's Noir Epices. Nice, spicy rose with a bit of fruit. It reminds me a lot of Guerlain's Nahema.

  56. #56
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Today I sampled Gendarme EDP.



    Linear green soapy smell for people who don't like perfume. Apparently, Gendarme is the granddaddy of the fresh laundry "soap & water clean" scents that are popular today (Clean, Philosophy, A Scent, etc.) and it does just that. Officially, the notes include verbena, thyme, and leather, but they all come together into a seamless smell that's somewhere between soap and fabric softener, with a semi-dark green tinge to it.

    Smell-wise, I personally think Miyake's A Scent or Chanel's Cristal Eau Verte beat Gendarme at its own game, but Gendarme wins hands-down for strength and longevity (traits usually missing from these sorts of scents). 11 hours later, it's going strong and I still smell like I just put on clothes warm from the dryer. All in all, that's not what I'm looking for in a perfume, but I appreciate that this would appeal to people who don't like big flowery perfumes or masculine powerhouses. And if I were stuck in a fragrance-sensitive workplace, I could easily see getting a lot of use out of Gendarme.
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    Default Re: Sample of the Day- March 2010 Edition

    Today I sampled Gendarme V.



    Soapy vetiver. But not like you'd think. This isn't the soapy vetiver of Mugler cologne, but more like the smell of a fancy soap that smells like vetiver.

    The vetiver is paired with lemongrass on top, and later a nice rose geranium, but it's always very much a part of the soapiness. Like the Gendarme EDP I wore yesterday, this is really a fragrance for people who hate perfume and just want to smell "clean".

    Clever, but not what I'm into.
    Last edited by rogalal; 1st April 2010 at 05:33 AM.
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