Heeley - Oranges and Lemons sample today. Nice but lasts a very short time
Thread: Sample Of The Day - April 2010
Clive Christian - X Men
Very spicy, dense top notes. The first few seconds are just a "buzz" of mixed spices, but very quickly it settles into a glorious cardamon note I just love. Truly the BEST cardamon I've ever smelled, and very long-lasting for what's usually a top note; X Men smells cardamony for at least three hours on my skin.
When the belated base notes arrive, they're a bit of a let down. Dry, powdery woods with what I think is a touch of iris.
It's easy to judge this one on price, but I try to ignore that when reviewing a fragrance as a composition ( reviewing as a product for sale is another issue, one I can't say Clive Christian gets my vote on ). As for the latter, I'd buy X Men it if it was cheap and I could re-apply frequently for that delicious cardamon, but I don't heart the drydown, so it's not a true love.
Dr Vranjes Extracts - Amber & Iris
Iris? No. Amber? Yes indeed. In fact, I'm strongly reminded of Perfumerie Generale's L'Ombre Fauve, a very similar patchouli-laden amber, but here there is slightly less animal and a bit more powder, and Amber & Iris is generally a quieter, more rounded fragrance.
Moderate longevity; quiet sillage. Totally linear.
Heeley - Oranges and Lemons sample today. Nice but lasts a very short time
Galamb, you went out shopping again, didn't you??
Today I sampled Hermès Bel Ami.
Bel Ami kicks off with that classic masculine lemon/basil topnote. The thing that makes it notable is the long-lasting leather in the heart. Eventually, a standard masculine chypre base comes through, but the verbena-tinged leather parallels the base, giving it a nice smoothness. If you like that classic lemony topnote, you'll likely find Bel Ami to be elegance personified. If you think that 80's lemon smells dated, you probably won't like Bel Ami, because it's still more of a classic man-chypre than a leather scent.
How can I not? SF has STUFF I've yet to smell!
Today I returned to the men's section of Neiman Marcus and tried on Tuscany and Havana.
Tuscany was a nice, sparkling, aldehydic citrus leading to a woody musk. I enjoyed it, but wasn't over the moon about it, and it was a little milder than I'd imagined it to be. Stronger base notes and it would appeal more.
Havana is legendary around here, but it was just "nice" to my nose. Linear, clove-tinted tobacco with good sillage and longevity, but I found myself wanting something richer and deeper rather than surprisingly transparent.
With thanks to a generous BN friend, today I sampled Givenchy Vetyver.
Apparently, Givenchy's Vetyver is a very important and influential 60's benchmark vetiver scent, despite it never being anywhere near as popular as Guerlain's. In fact, from what I read, it never really sold and was only kept in production because it was Mr. Givenchy's personal signature scent. Alas, when he retired in 1995, it was quickly discontinued, not to resurface again until a limited re-issue a couple of years ago.
Realistically, comparisons to Guerlain Vetiver are unavoidable and apt, so I might as well give it a go....
Both Vetivers have the same upfront vetiver quality, where all the rest of the ingredients prop up the main vetiver note. Both have the same bright, astringent quality, but Givenchy feels more rounded and "safe", largely because it's not as medicinal as the Guerlain. Both pair the vetiver topnote with ginger for sparkle and lemon for freshness. And both aren't afraid to let just a hint of sweaty funk to peek out, adding a subtle element of danger (though Guerlain plays this up a little more with its infamous tobacco note, which Givenchy leaves out, giving an overall similar-but-cleaner feel).
Givenchy rounds out its Vetyver with a dark, mysterious basenote I can't quite place. Of course, it's still primarily vetiver, but with a dark fruitiness to it, that suggests possibly a subtle patchouli or maybe even coriander fusing with subtle oakmoss. It also maintains an almost aldehydic sparkle, possibly from remnants of the ginger.
Overall, I actually prefer this to Guerlain's Vetiver, at least in its current formulation. The three issues I have with the Guerlain (too medicinal, too sweaty, and the tobacco note) are fixed in the Givenchy.
I don't know how this escaped me for so long, but this is really a must-try for vetiver lovers.
Last edited by rogalal; 16th April 2010 at 04:49 AM.
rive gauche and body kouros blew my mind. nuff said
Don't have time for a full breakdown (I should be studying!) but I tested Paco Rabanne's Ultraviolet Man today.
Starts out sweet and minty. Quickly a saltiness joins the sweet, minty ambery accord (sounds weird but it's very enjoyable actually). The saltiness is provided by the ambergris in the heart and the vetiver in the base. The midnotes become progressively less sweet, and more ambergris oriented along with hints of vanilla, vetiver and musk. The accord kept calling to mind something and I couldn't put my finger on it for quite some time. Then it hit me - this smells like L'Air du Desert Marocain. Ok, it doesn't smell just like it, and the openings are definitely very very different, but the heart of each do share a number of similarities. While Ultraviolet doesn't have the tar note of the Tauer, it does have a slightly rubbery nuance (far gentler than LddM's) thanks to the ambergris. UV Man is slightly sweeter and not as deep or heavy, but there is a certain something they both share that readily, easily links them in my mind. A huge dose of ambreine or ambrox in each, perhaps?
Perhaps the best part of Ultraviolet Man is the way it creates a subtle aura of scent around you. It's got a lot of heavy notes but they are implemented in a light and ethereal manner, and it makes this scent far more wearable than your typical oriental.
All in all I liked this a LOT more than I thought I would. I should add that I really disliked this scent on a card - the sweetness and thin nature of the opening lasts way too long on the card, but on skin it is enjoyable because it lingers only briefly before the beautifully composed counterpoint heart moves to the fore.
Last edited by SculptureOfSoul; 16th April 2010 at 05:57 AM.
Iris Pallida 50ml
Ungaro I 75ml
and more! - http://www.basenotes.net/threads/301...n-Man-and-more
Yesterday I sampled Mitsouko EdP:
I haven't the time to do a full review but it's just as well, as I still have not quite gotten my head around it. The current EdT I sampled last month wore flat on me, much to my disappointment, but there was a silver lining: even in slightly anemic form, the basic structure gave me enough Lincoln Logs to imagine just how incredible a fuller, rosy-cheeked version could be. You know where this is headed...
The EdP is much closer to what I had hoped Mitsouko would be. It is affecting in the grand manner, with a gravity that is the provenance of the truly beautiful rather than the merely pretty. We sometimes speak of intelligence in fragrance, and Mitsouko seems aware of the transience of its beauty and its power to haunt in equal measure. There is a lingering sadness about the peach that suffuses its every breath, the way a sunset serenades a wonderful day that was all too brief; an association that was especially poignant yesterday, the 21st anniversary of Hillsborough, to which the thoughts of every Liverpool supporter duly return in mid-April.
I will have to sample this again on a happier day, and perhaps a cooler one as well, because the heart turned slightly soapy-sour on me for an hour before straightening itself out. It is very nice work and deserves my full attention, which it will receive in due course. I expect, however, that this particular excursion will not end until I get a sniff of the parfum.
Today was such a beautiful, sunny day here that I couldn't resist heading back into the city for more sniffing...
At Saks, they had a tester of the new new Bond No 9 (Already? High Line is only a couple of weeks old...), Saks En Rose. It's a flanker to their indolic tuberose monster Saks Fifth Avenue For Her. Basically, take out the super-intense indoles and replace them with rose, and tone the whole thing down a little bit and you have Saks En Rose. Upon sniffing, my first thought was that, if it were a lotion, my 60-something mother would love it. I didn't put any on, so I can't speak for longevity or the base or anything.
I ended up giving a full wearing to Tom Ford Azuree Lime. The lime note on paper is fantastic. Unfortunately, it's lime, so it didn't even last the minute it took me to walk from the Tom Ford counter to the escalator. It very quickly faded to a not-too-harsh petitgrain, which quickly went a bit soapy (to be specific, it smelled like a mix of petitgrain, orange blossom, and that white musk Tom Ford used for his musk collection). Oddly, given a few hours, the base is woody. It's not the cedar that smells like pencil shavings, but the cedar that smells like walking through a forest. If Azuree Lime skipped the soapy musk and really let the woods shine (instead of leaving them as a very light skin scent), I'd probably pick up a bottle - I'm a sucker for the odd mix of lime and heavy woods. But, as is, this is essentially a much-more-expensive version of Trumper's Extract of Limes and its ilk, with very light novelty basenotes.
On my other arm, I did a full test of the upcoming L'Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse, thanks to a pre-release tester at Barneys.
Really interesting. Leave it to Duchaufour to create a tuberose I could actually wear.
Of course, it's tuberose, but paired with a green pepper note (think Piment Brulant), orange blossom, citrus, and some sweet spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg. Somehow, it's simultaneously green, citric, foody-spicy, and full-on tuberose floral. The closest I've ever smelled to this is Delrae's Amoureuse (reviewed above in this same thread), but it's similar in ingredients, not actual smell. Nuit de Tubereuse is simultaneously more of a tuberose than the Delrea, but also more of a green spiced citrus, too.
Given hours, it all came together into something kind of like a tuberose-and-cinnamon-flavored jellybean. Which is actually quite cool, too.
The real magic is that it's actually wearable. By me. A guy. While other tuberoses (Carnal Flower, etc) fall into the "a guy can wear it if he's into wearing womens perfumes" category for me, this falls into the "niche fiend who can wear interesting florals" category. That being said, if this is your first trip away from the men's counter at Macys, it's not that wearable...
I doubt I'd personally buy a bottle, just because tuberose isn't my thing, but if you're interested in a truly interesting new mix of notes, Nuit de Tubereuse is definitely worth a sniff, and I can imagine it becoming a new cult favorite for L'Artisan. As a side note, L'Artisan seems to be getting its US distribution back in order. Old scents are back in stock, and they're actually hiring reps again. And with Duchaufour at the helm, I personally have high hopes for the quality of their upcoming releases. Welcome back!
Last edited by rogalal; 18th April 2010 at 03:13 AM.
I was so hoping I'd find this at Barney's before I left SF - damn, just a few days too late! I love Amoureuse, so I can't wait to try Nuit de Tubereuse. I'm a little hesitant on the green-citrus component people mention ( is it heavy on the bergamot or galbanum? ) But it sounds fascinating. I guess it will be either a love-it or hate-it thing for me.
Today I dug out my Karo Karunde sample. Weirdest flower ever? I think so. Again, that distinct impression of flowering honey mustard. I can't say I remember smelling it distinctly Timbuktu, but I don't imagine a soliflore would sell to most tastes ( Profumo.it has done this in African Queen Black Panther, and it's a little threatening, all in all ).
rogalal, I had been meaning to a side-by-side of Givenchy Vetyver and Guerlain Vetiver but you beat me to it! When I get around to them, I am sure I will appreciate the detail of your review. Nuit de Tubereuse sounds interesting, too.
Speaking of dashed plans, I had a whole review about Penhaligon's Endymion planned around the Keats poem of the same name because I recently decided I need more poetry in my life and chose to do something about. Unfortunately, the juice refused to cooperate and is itself rather uninspiring (unlike its counterpart in verse, which is long-ish but well worth the read). I perceived it as a so-so spicy citrus scent with a generic sweet, woody-amber drydown of slightly higher quality than a designer release. It strongly reminded me of a department store sample I received ages ago, possibly something from DKNY or Kenneth Cole but I wouldn't swear on it. A part of me wonders if I got a mislabeled sample, such was my disappointment, so I would appreciate someone who knows Endymion telling me what it smells like?
I have a high success rate as far as selecting things to sample that I will like, but between Endymion, Le Baiser du Dragon EdP's 21st-century rendition of an Eighties Christmas party, and not finding Mugler Cologne at my local Marshall's yesterday, I am not a happy bunny.
Actually, that is another neat segue, because I have also been sampling a bunch of feminine Avon fragrances so that my mother can purchase several as gifts and one of them, Chic in White (I know, I know) is a perfectly unisex, soapy citrus-floral with a drydown very similar to Mugler Cologne. I am seriously considering buying this because the hesperidic top notes are bright and legible and the heart is basically white Dove soap-bar absolute. Will have to give it another look-in tomorrow.
Which reminds me (see what I did there?), I need to break out of this sampling-slump like gangbusters in the morning with a heavy hitter...I'm thinking Jicky EdP.
This thread has been going well so far this month. Anyone else with thoughts--long or short, big or small--on anything they have tried in April?
Last edited by Emlynevermore; 18th April 2010 at 03:57 AM.
Edit: Emly, I've been looking for an excuse to break open my Penhaligans sample pack. I'll check out Endymion tomorrow and report back...
Edit again: Through some sort of weird forum failure, the review of Gucci Pour Homme I just spent almost an hour on was replaced by a repost of my last post when I added that edit???!!!??? Argh...
Last edited by rogalal; 18th April 2010 at 03:58 AM.
Hmmm, citrus is certainly not one of the foremost features of Endymion on my skin. Owning a bottle has revealed a whole new level of musk in it, that in ways reminds me of Musc Ravageur (not the overall scent, but of the musk). Really I think it's sort of like Rochas Man + New Haarlem + Musc Ravageur + EDC = Endymion.
Obsessions of the Moment- Kristiansand EDC, Green Irish Tweed, Zizan
Granted, we've known each other for some time. It don't take a whole day to recognize sunshine. ~ Common Sense
I wasn't sure how else to describe the opening besides "spicy citrus", although it is not, as you say, especially citrus-prominent.
Big day for me in a number of ways, and unfortunately, you are all going to have to hear about it.
In what rounded off a troublesome weekend of sampling, I applied Jicky EdP:
on my forearm at about ten o'clock this morning only to have it completely disappear by about two in the afternoon. A final verdict will have to wait until I give it a full wearing because the longevity--lack thereof--caught me off-guard. Is four hours the usual for Jicky EdP?
The bergamot peals come thick and fast in the same tone and tenor as in Shalimar, and I am quickly realizing that dissonant lavenders appeal to me as much as the clear ones do. However, the oft-lamented "dirty diaper" note rears its poopy head for nearly an hour in the heart. This effect seems the result of the dirtiness peculiar to civet in concert with the herbaceous soapiness of the lavender and coumarin. This could take some getting used to, as I have lots of little cousins and have changed a fair few nappies in my time, but the drydown veers away from the skank and is of the more agreeable Guerlinade persuasion.
I can see these Guerlain EdPs are going to require multiple attempts to fully understand. That's OK, no hurry...
Because Jicky petered out so soon, I had the time to sample Penhaligon's Castile:
If you have been following this thread, you will know that this has been something of a thorn in my side. Well, no more.
I am not really a fan of the eau de cologne genre as such but, rather like someone who finds himself adrift in the tumultuous north Atlantic, I have fortuitously drifted south and found the Azores. The twin archipelagoes of solace in this instance are AdP Colonia and now Castile, both of which prominently juxtapose neroli and rose. I could not clearly pick out neroli from any other derivative of the bitter orange tree until today, as its mouthwatering yet curiously inedible character unmistakably inaugurates both fragrances. The hesperidic-floral accord is slightly less aggressive in Castile, but thankfully, the effect is the same--which is to say, absolutely wonderful.
Incidentally, Castile actually shares more with AdP Colonia Assoluta in the drydown than it does with the original. I refer specifically to a soapy, slightly sweet musk that reminds me of Mugler Cologne and yes, Avon's Chic in White. It is pleasant even six hours after application, and of a quality that does not indicate it will fall apart soon.
The chord of bright citrus, affable rose, and refined musk suffuse Castile with a reassuring air of optimism and possibility that I find immensely appealing. This is something I not only enjoy smelling, but would enjoy smelling like. Castile is appropriate for pretty much any situation that would be improved with a little class and comes with the highest recommendation I can muster at this stage in my fragrance development.
On its technical merits, it is probably only a 4-star fragrance but because it makes me feel the way it does, I rate it:
I actually purchased Acqua di Parma Colonia and Caron Pour un Homme today, both of which had been sitting on my wishlist for months. Colonia is my first niche bottle, and it still affects me the way it did on my first sample wearing to the opera over six months ago. I chose it over Castile for the brilliance of its topnotes, though undoubtedly at the expense of longevity. Pour un Homme's time had also come, and this further served as an excuse to get samples of the following:
24 Fauborg EdP
Aromatics Elixir parfum
Eau Sauvage EdT
Givenchy III EdT
Rive Gauche (women's) EdT
On a bit of a green/floral kick now, plus the Baldessarini which I nearly bought blind several months ago. I thought about Un Jardin sur le Nil after seeing that mtgprox purchased a bottle this month (Congratulations!) but I still have difficulty appreciating Ellena's transparency so it can wait. Anyway, you know you are in deep trouble when you start buying samples of things in anticipation of finishing other samples you have yet to get around to...
Sorry for the lack of pith and clarity but I'm pretty sniffed out right now. Good night, people.
Last edited by Emlynevermore; 19th April 2010 at 05:17 AM.
Wow - I've missed a lot here...
Emly, I can't for the life of me bring myself to even spray on Jicky. That baby-poop note just turns my stomach even just sprayed in store on paper. I had the opportunity to smell some plain civet and it's very much that literal baby poop smell. Interestingly, I think it's the combination of tonka and lavender that somehow simulates the diaper smell surrounding the civet in Jicky. After smelling well over a thousand perfumes in this wacky habit of mine, none has ever elicited such a pure response from me of "why on earth would anyone in their right mind actually want to smell like this??"
Anyway, I should catch up by attempting to recreate the review of Gucci Pour Homme I wrote a few days ago that BN somehow lost...
In the pantheon of classic men's scents, the woody masculine chypre seems to be one of the most prominent styles, pretty much defining the genre through the 70's and 80's, until the 1990 oakmoss restrictions pretty much killed them. As someone who's trying his best to learn to recognize ingredients and accords, they can be tricky, mostly because they all seem to share certain basic ingredients.
Of course, there are the required ingredients for the basic chypre structure (labdanum over oakmoss, vetiver, and patchouli). And there's always a citrus, which is itself required for chypres (bergamot, or often that specific 70's/80's lemon chemical that smells like Lemon Pledge). There's usually verbena in the heart (to extend the lemon note) and, more often than not, a shot of hawthorn to give a woody edge. And you're most likely going to find that dark angry basil note, and possibly some rosemary, too. It's also pretty common to smell some lavender on the top, to brighten things up.
So basically, just to make things confusing, hundreds and hundreds of scents from that period all share the same basic notes. Only now, after years of sampling anything I can get my hands on, am I slowly becoming able to start to crack the code and smell any real differences, but I still find the whole genre immensely confusing.
Still the biggest mystery to me is how to tell which are the good ones and which are the bad ones when they smell so much alike. As far as I can tell, some set themselves apart by adding more ingredients on top of the ones listed above (like PDN New York adding vanilla, Yatagan's pine & celery seed, or Bel Ami's leather). Others apparently just combine these few common ingredients more deftly and set themselves apart by simply doing what everyone else is doing, but better.
Thankfully, a while back, a generous soul who is immeasurably more well-versed than me in men's classics sent me what basically amounted to a "best-of" package. Among them was the original Gucci Pour Homme from 1976.
As far as I can smell, Gucci Pour Homme is basically those ten or so ingredients put together in a better than average way. The most distinctive thing about it was a bright freshness on top (maybe lavender, or possibly even aldehydes). This brightness kept the lemon from ever smelling like cleaning fluid, and somehow magically paired with the verbena and the hawthorn to create an olfactory hallucination resembling an artful depiction of pineapple upside-down cake.
Really, aside from that, it's a masculine woody chypre. You pretty much know what it's going to smell like (imagine Equipage with a shot of that faux-pineapple brightness). As such, it's either the epitome of style and sophistication, or old man smell, depending on your personal biases. If you're into classics and can track down a sample, I'm sure you'll love it. If you don't really like classics and prefer the modern style, save yourself the trouble. As for me, I'll be the big dork in the corner sniffing himself and trying to figure out its secrets...
Last edited by rogalal; 22nd April 2010 at 03:48 AM.
I sometimes like messing around with many samples in a day so here are a few.
CREED Acier Aluminium
Every man will feel like a knight in shining armor in CREED's Acier Aluminium fragrance.
Inspired by the armor of interlocking metal (known as "chain mail") worn by knights in the Middle Ages, Acier Aluminium makes a statement of unmistakably masculine strength and power. In fact, the French word "acier" translates as "high steel".
Classification: Mossy Woods / Oriental
Characteristics: Exceptionally unique, Acier Aluminium belongs to the fruity-chypre family (which imparts mellow warmth to the classic chypre composition). Universal and intricate like its concept, Acier Alluminium is highly celebrated among fragrance connoisseurs.
* Top Notes: Bergamot
* Middle Notes: Spice and fruits
* Base Notes: Ambergris and vanilla
CREED Imperial Millesime
This light and invigorating scent for men and women evokes the citrus groves and lush landscape of a seaside palace in Sicily. As versatile as it is beautiful, CREED Imperial Millesime can be worn by men and women for any occasion, from corporate suite to evening out.
A scent for persons of stature, Millesime Imperial is famed for its golden look and feel that fit perfectly with the Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony, a reason for this fragrance's lasting popularity with the world's top entertainers, male and female. Millesime Imperial is literally the gold standard in fragrance.
Classification: Citrus / Floral
Characteristics: Warm and romantic with crisp citrus and soft flowers wafting on a sweet, salt air, Imperial Millesime transports you to another world of opulence and luxury.
* Top Notes: Crisp fruit notes, sea salt
* Middle Notes: Sicilian lemon, bergamot, mandarin, Florentine Iris
* Base Notes: Musk, woody and marine notes
CREED Green Irish Tweed
As classic as a perfectly tailored tuxedo on Oscar night, CREED Green Irish Tweed is loyally worn by today's Hollywood leading men who ask for it by name. A film colony legend like the stars who wear it, Green Irish Tweed has an invigorating freshness and pure masculinity that have made it not only one of the most artistic fragrances from Olivier CREED, but also one of the most successful.
Classification: Green / Woods / Classic
Characteristics: As refreshing as a walk through the Irish countryside, Green Irish Tweed is one of the signature scents of the House of CREED. Rich, fresh, green, spicy, sporty, original and unforgettable.
* Top Notes: French verbena, Florentine iris
* Middle Notes: Violet leaves
* Base Notes: Sandalwood from Mysore, ambergris
CREED Orange Spice
Created for one of England's most flambuoyant dramatists and authors of the 1800's, Orange Spice is a wild mix of bergamot orange, neroli, ambergris and spices. Its mischevious lightness of spirit is completely carefree -- yet clearly the result of classical method.
Citrus oils are generally described as fresh and are top notes in a fragrance composition.
Classification: Citrus / Spicy / Classic
Characteristics: Spicy and fruity with delicious orange. Aromatic, fresh, mysterious and spicy with a powdery dry down, for those who appreciate a long lasting citrus.
* Top Notes: Bergamot, orange
* Middle Notes: Neroli
* Base Notes: Ambergris, spices
CREED Tabarome Millesime
A fragrance for men who aspire to be leaders, CREED Tabarome Millesime has the essence of success in every drop. Tabarome was commissioned by a legendary British statesman who loved fine brandy and highest quality cigars. The name "Tabarome" honors the pinch of finest tobacco aroma that gives this fragrance its English club luxury.
Classification: Dry Woods / Fresh
Characteristics: A rich, warm, sensual scent perfectly balanced by a citrus freshness that is appealing to both men and women. Original, sensual, sophisticated.
* Top Notes: Bergamot, Tangerine
* Middle Notes: Ginger
* Base Notes: Sandalwood, Patchouli, ambergris Tobacco, leather
Thanks for playing along, DavidBond007! You sure like your Creeds...
So, I'd like to extend yet another WTF?!@? to Basenotes for f*cking up again, losing communication when I hit the post reply button and losing my review of Endymion...
The last two times I've logged in here and spent a long time trying to write something that's thought-out and interesting, it's lost them.
Trying yet again to successfully post….
Sunday, as promised, I broke open my Penhaligon’s sample pack and wore Endymion.
How odd. It seemed to go through three very distinct phases. The top was a textbook lavender-over-fruity-citrus marine fougère that had me worrying that it would turn out to be a Creed clone. Thankfully, a mandarin note that was strong enough to take it out of fougère territory came in quickly and took it in a decidedly fruity direction.
This fruity heart shifted between that mandarin and some strawberry-ish apple. This fruit salad stayed strong, eventually being joined by a leathery basenote (I’m only saying leather because that’s what’s listed – it stayed so fruity that it could really have been anything from wood to amber adding the darkness under all that fruit).
All in all, the fruity part wasn’t really my thing, and it was all a bit sweeter than I generally go for, but it was interesting. In response to an earlier question, I never smelled a “woody amber” drydown (meaning that note irresponsibly called woody amber that actually smells like chlorine or metal), but I could see that semi-leather easily being categorized as either wody or amber, if that’s what you meant.
Endymion kind of came off as unisex, in the sense that the topnotes smelled like a men’s scent, while the heart smelled like a women’s and the base was a strange mix of both.
Monday, I continued my Penhaligon’s kick with my very first trial wearing of Malabah.
It kicked off with probably the most realistic and wearable tea note I’ve smelled in a perfume - the perfect glass of brown iced tea on a warm day. Eventually, this gave way to coriander, which has sort of a berry tea smell.
Sadly, it lost me in the drydown, a too-sweet fruity-floral-esque cinnamony, orangey vanilla that paired with the lingering coriander to make a sort of over-sweetened fruity candy smell I’d expect more from Britney Spears than Penhaligon’s. To be fair, the tea lasted all day on my clothes, so that would seem to be the secret to Malabah – don’t spray on skin.
That being said, I could easily imagine that sweet base to be a matter of semantics. One man's luxurious citrus-tinged gaiac and creamy sandalwood is another man's orange creamsicle with cinnamon on it...
Tuesday, I tested Penhaligon’s Lavandula.
No surprise, it’s lavender. Strong, dirty (almost to the point of being fecal) lavender. In the heart, a pinch of citrus came through, as well as a bit of leather, but that faded and left a base of more lavender.
Needless to say, if you’re a lavender fanatic, you should check this out, but it’s hard to imagine anyone else going bonkers for Lavandula.
Last edited by rogalal; 23rd April 2010 at 12:05 AM.
Yesterday, I tested Penhaligon’s Raquets Formula.
It kicked off with very classic-smelling leafy greens on top. I think it was tomato leaf, but I can’t say for sure. It’s not the stanky overly-strong tomato leaf of Stecca or the refreshing, bright, amazing tomato leaf of Eau de Campagne, but a stoic, mildly stuffy tomato leaf you’d expect to find in the corner of an aristocratic, wood-paneled library. I think they did this by pairing it with galbanum, but I’m not sure. My awkward descriptions aside, it’s definitely an old-world barbershop scent, albeit a very green take on the genre. Naturally, it had a powdery base, with remnants of the galbanum playing with lavender up against the powder.
I have to admit that this is much more what I was expecting from Penhaligan’s, as opposed to the borderline fruity florals I got with my first two. Of course, this will smell pretty dated when judged by modern tastes, but it’s pretty awesome as a barbershop scent.
Today, I’m testing Penhaligon’s Castile, the subject of much discussion in this thread.
Yup, it’s neroli. It’s sweeter than usual, which I guess is the rose you guys are talking about, but I never would have picked it out on my own. This reminds me a lot of Caswell Massey’s much-cheaper Greenbriar, which I’ll have to resniff now to check for rose…
The neroli note lasts well into the base, where a pinch of petitgrain comes through, joined by just a faint touch of powder.
As far as neroli scents go, this is perfectly nice, but they’re all similar enough that it would take a pretty epic arm-to-arm faceoff to determine a clear favorite. Maybe that could be a summer project…
Edit: When I got on a crowded bus this morning, the lady I was next to turned to her friend and said "something smells good - like green tea." I guess that counts as a compliment. And it pointed out how floral neroli silage can come off as tea-ish, too.
Emly, as for neroli vs. regular orange blossom, it's pretty easy to tell them apart. Try to give a sniff to Jo Malone's Orange Blossom cologne for pure orange blossom. It's definitely floral and indolic and feminine, but still has a touch of orange fruitiness to it. While neroli as a note is more masculine and not particularly floral, but more an intense green somewhere between an unripe orange and freshly-cut grass.
Last edited by rogalal; 23rd April 2010 at 12:17 AM.
Rogalal, I'm surprised that you didn't mention coffee, as a major note in Endymion. Really, I get hardly any fruit on my skin, it's very coffee prominent. And I really like Racquets, but agree, it just doesn't fit on a 22 year old. That being said it smells divine, and I'd love to have it in shower gel form. And Castile, did you make it to the part of the drydown where it gets UBER soapy? That's the part that I've gotten compliments on before.
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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
Thanks to my own sampling adventures and the reviews in these threads, I can quite easily distinguish between bergamot, neroli, and orange blossom--all three of which I really enjoy--but I still wouldn't be able to pick bigarade or petitgrain out of a lineup if I had to.
I sampled MPG Racine earlier this week and had planned on writing a "full" review but there was a phase in its development that I just *could not* get past.
It opens with a beautiful, slightly diaphanous citrus note that exhibits the kind of cheer and good humor I associate with verbena, as opposed to lime or any orange or its derivatives. I could not stop smelling my wrist every thirty-odd seconds for the first quarter of an hour. This slowly takes on a slightly plastic-y undertone, lending the whole a vibe similar to that of a particular flavor of Hall's throat lozenges I happen to like very much.
There is a section in Guerlain Vetiver's progression that falls somewhere between wet hay and morning breath, which at once makes me slightly queasy and very self-conscious--the latter a consequence of my obsession with personal hygiene and unadvertised threats to it. Racine does the same thing, with more intensity, before settling down to a pleasant skin scent.
I have very little experience with vetiver, never having smelled the real thing and very few fragrances in which it is prominent. The drydowns of the two aforementioned scents appeal to me but that discomfiting hour in the heart is torture. I should note that I do not get this at all from Encre Noire, which I love.
I am going to keep working at this-; still Givenchy's Vetyver (reissue) and Guerlain's Vetiver pour Elle to go; also will revisit GV and Racine later; might try and obtain some of the original material in different forms. But if this is vetiver, I am not sure I like it...
Last edited by Emlynevermore; 23rd April 2010 at 06:08 PM.
The difference between petigrain and bergamot I find particularly hard to describe in words because they're both sharp, green, tart, citrus smells, but both smell quite distinct, with petigrain having a sharper, juicier tang and bergamot having a more refined, Earl-Grey, peel-like note.
Lumiere Noire by Francis Kirkdijan , nothing fancy to say other than it is great stuff and everyone should give it a try
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