Rogalal- I am dying ! Fab ! I love SMN Honeysuckle - now Cuba and Mimosa sound very interesting too ! Thanks for the reviews and for the mouth watering picture .
I've been away from BN for a couple of weeks now, away on vacation in New York, where I did quite a bit of sniffing. After smelling many, many, many scents, I figured I'd put together a little thread with some stories and my thoughts...
I started out at LAFCO, the company that imports and distributes Santa Maria Novella, Eau d'Italie, Lorenzo Villoresi, and other Italian brands. Seeing all the dozens and dozens of SMN scents all on one huge table was a bit overwhelming, but the nice SA there guided me through the high points.
(Image stolen from the web - They don't allow photography in the store)
Here are some thoughts based on sniffing on paper:
Eau d'Italie Au Lac (their new one): They really need to get Bertrand Duchaufour back. Really generic bergamot/calone/green lily on top that dried down to that cheap-smelling metallic woody amber. Like a really generic Bath & Body Works aquatic soap.
Santa Maria Novella Kyoto: Really interesting almost-masculine jammy rose with woods that managed to not smell like Feminite du Bois despite the similar notes. I need to get a sample of this...
Santa Maria Novella Cuba: My favorite of the SMN's I sniffed. Sweet (but not too sweet) woody honey with that papery tobacco leaf note (not pipe tobacco like Back To Black, but tobacco leaf like Le Male). I need to track down a sample of this one, too.
Santa Maria Novella Nostalgia: The smell of a race car. I still think this smells gross. Hot plastic and gasoline on top, eventually drying down to pleasant leathery herbs. I know this has its fans here, but I just can't do it...
Santa Maria Novella Vetiver: Spicy, powdery, old-school Italian on top, but faded to straight-up vetiver.
Santa Maria Novella Opoponax: More spicy Italian powder - Where's the incense?
Santa Maria Novella Melograno: Really hard to describe, like really dirty leathery herbs under a thick coating of Old-Spice flowery powder. Simultaneously very clean and very dark and dirty. And I smelled absolutely no pomegranate...
Santa Maria Novella Gold Musk: Smelled like fancy white soap.
Santa Maria Novella Freesia: Smelled like fancy pink floral soap.
Santa Maria Novella Tobacco Toscano: Smelled like some kind of old-school 60's "manly" soap.
Santa Maria Novella Frangipane: Weird synthetic strangeness. I don't get it...
Santa Maria Novella Honeysuckle: The feminine equivalent of Melograno, a surprisingly leathery, dirty floral with sparkly aldehydes on top. Actually quite interesting.
Santa Maria Novella Mimosa: Ever shop at a Thomas Pink store? They smell like this, and I don't know why. A weird mix of light florals and the smell of freshly-pressed expensive shirts.
Lorenzo Villoresi Vetiver: Lemony vetiver. Not original, but certainly not bad.
Lorenzo Villoresi Spezie: Clove, black pepper, and cumin were what I smelled the most. Not bad (though I don't care for cumin), but a little bland, despite the exciting, spicy notes.
Lorenzo Villoresi Uomo: Spicy, masculine, and a bit boring.
More to come soon...
Rogalal- I am dying ! Fab ! I love SMN Honeysuckle - now Cuba and Mimosa sound very interesting too ! Thanks for the reviews and for the mouth watering picture .
Last edited by Mimi Gardenia; 2nd July 2010 at 03:25 AM.
Petty small minded people have no place in my life.
Wow! Quite an adventure. Glad you had a good time sniffing. The picture is awesome. Thanks for sharing.
Rogalal, how could you!!? Actually, thank you for sharing this.
I am glad you enjoyed yourself so much!
It's just that my wallet is already quite bare and I tremble with the thought of falling in love with these SMN scents...
"No elegance is possible without it...perfume is a part of you." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
I wear melograno occasionally. I couldn't stop smelling it when I first saw it, so eventually just had to get a decant (from a generous BN member). I don't really even know how to describe it. I don't really get any pomegranate there, but I suppose the white pith area of the fruit that's a little tart and powdery might be the inspiration.
Do you think Cuba would qualify as a light version of TF TV?
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Thanks for the nice comments!
After LAFCO, I popped through Bond No. 9's flagship store, where I sniffed the Harrod's exclusives. I ended up giving full day-long wears to Harrods for Him and Harrods for Her, so I'll post full reviews in the Sample Of The Day thread later...
I picked up a collection of mini-candles and an Eau de New york soap.
Then, it was off to the legendary Aedes de Venustas to meet up with the legendary Kevin Guyer.
(This is another photo from the web - Sorry, I forgot my camera...)
Mr. Guyer gave me an official BN welcome to New York and showed me around Aedes, pointing out some of his favorites. As the afternoon progressed, it turned out that most of his recommendations were amber scents - The man knows his amber.
I picked up a bottle of the L'Artisan Parfumeur Aedes de Venustas perfume, and they threw in a bunch of samples. We sniffed a ton of perfumes, candles, and just about everything.
Some thoughts on stuff we sniffed:
Heeley Oranges And Lemons Say The Bells Of Saint Clemens (their new one): Citrus, of course, with a heavy dose of woody petitgrain, but the whole thing was way darker than I expected. Maybe it's the vetiver in the base, but this was surprisingly not the refreshing summer splash I was expecting.
Parfums Delrae Coup de Foudre (their new one): Sweet, rosey and floral, with perhaps a pinch of patchouli later? Nice, but not what I'm into.
Agonist The Infidels (that really expensive art-glass one): Fruity goodness at luxury concentration. Somehow managed to simultaneously smell expensive (from the high concentration of presumably natural ingredients) and cheap (from the bland, pleasant fruitiness of the scent itself).
Francis Kurkdjian APOM Homme: Kind of reminded me of a toned-down, inside-out Le Male. It had that same tobacco, but minus the sweet vanilla. It was very bright on top, too. Maybe aldehydes? Or possibly lavender. I'm not sure about it being worth the price for what smelled mostly like a Le Male flanker...
Francis Kurkdjian APOM Femme: Orange blossom. I'm sure there's more going on, but on paper, it seemed like a nice soliflore.
Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire Homme: Felt like a better-made masculine designer scent, with that sort of heavily-blended mix of hard-to-pick-out notes. Fine, but kind of uninspiring.
Francis Kurkdjian Cologne Pour Le Matin: My favorite of the FK's, but still not enough to get me that excited. Spicy, peppery resins (the fruity kind) over amber or suede or something. The most "niche" of the FK's in spirit and in notes, but still had that over-blended "designer" feel, where everything mashes together into a sort of indecipherable pretty mush, as opposed to featured elements standing out on their own.
Nez A Nez Ambre A Sade: Amber for just a minute that quickly morphed into crazy-sweet fruity candy.
Nez A Nez Marron Chic: Really interesting iris/gourmand that I liked enough to get a sample of. I gave it a full wearing later, so I'll make a full review soon...
Amouage Ubar Woman: A suggestion from Kevin, a ridiculously strong, rich floral. He said he eventually got tired of its strength, but I have to admit I was intrigued.
Parfum d'Empire Eau de Gloire: Based on the notes, I expected to like this more. Lavender-topped citrus with a heady darkness and plenty of dirt. Interesting, but not what I wanted it to be.
Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe: I finally got to sniff the legend. It was amber (of course), with an unidentified green quality growing after a while. I didn't get the leather, though. I need to get a sample of this...
After terrorizing Aedes, we crossed the street to C.O. Bigelow, where we mostly just talked and made a big mess, but the folks there were extremely friendly. We sniffed the Trumpers (my favorite was their Bay Rum). I was also intrigued by Smiley, which was basically just a powdery, soapy clove scent, but with something strangely milky about it. It sounds like a recipe for a classic, but it comes off very modern. I need to give it a proper sampling someday.
At that point, Kevin had to go, so we parted ways. Many thanks to him for the pleasant conversation and all the sniffing!
Lovely pictures Rogalal ! Thanks for The Infidels and the new Heeley review- wondered what those two smelt like.
Petty small minded people have no place in my life.
To answer the question about SMN's Cuba, I wouldn't really compare it to Tobacco Vanille. It's a completely different kind of tobacco. If you can imagine Le Male with honey instead of the vanilla and minus the lavender fougere quality, you'd be close...
The next day, I checked out the tiny Krigler boutique hidden in the bowels of the Plaza Hotel.
(Yes, this is another photo stolen from the net - I forgot my camera again)
The Krigler line as a whole was interesting. They only have two boutiques (the one in NY and the original in Monte Carlo) and their history dates back to 1904, where they began as a Russian company that bought ingredients from Grasse, but eventually set their sights on the growing American luxury market (the upper-echelon rich that weren't particularly hard-hit by the great depression).
Their scents are interesting in themselves. They're all high concentration, which felt luxurious in some of their scents, but clunky in others (there's something awkward about highly-concentrated fruity perfumes - they can actually end up smelling like cheap soap/candle scents). I liked a lot of them, but loved none.
Krigler Juicy Jasmine 30: From 1930 (hence the 30 in the name), it was candied and fruity jasmine on top (a nice trick done with coriander), but then POW! A huge, shocking sledgehammer of indoles kicked in. If you like your flowers relentlessly filthy, this might be your grail.
Krigler Established Cognac 66: From 1966 (have you figured out their code yet?), an interesting butterscotchy vin santo. Not like anything else I've tried. I got a sample - I'll do a full review soon...
Krigler Manhattan Rose 44: A textbook classic aldehydic tea rose scent, based on essential oils from Grasse. It's beautiful, but this particular style has long been so synonymous with grandma's guest soaps at this point that it's hard to want to wear this as a perfume any more.
Krigler America One 31: A very early masculine woody chypre. Peppery citrus and herbs over vetiver and moss. In this highly-concentrated form, with all the natural ingredients, it's really quite epic. Fans of Equipage or Derby or any of the big masculine classics would be very wise to seek out a sample of this. Seriously. You can thank me later...
They also had a Rose/Oud scent that was new and only available in urns (they hadn't bottled it yet). Honestly, it was that textbook rose/oud combination that we've all smelled by now. I'd compare it more to By Kilian's Rose Oud than one of Montale's more challenging medicinal/rubbery oud/rose combinations.
I ended up buying a Juicy Jasmine 30 candle, just because I was so intrigued by the dirtiness of the perfume. The candle, however, left out the indolic weirdness in favor of turning up the volume on the coriander. It's nice, but not the slap in the face that the perfume was.
Then I was off to Saks Fifth Avenue to check out their huge Chanel section, one of the few places Les Exclusifs are available outside of the snooty Chanel stores.
(Yeah, it's another photo stolen from the web - doh!)
I sniffed all the the Exclusifs and ended up trying on my two favorites, Bel Respiro and 28 La Pausa.
Bel Respiro kicked off with grapefruit, but was simultaneously very green. The grapefruit clearly wanted to get sweaty, but just barely held back. I couldn't quite place the green note. At first I thought it was vetiver, just because I'm used to that grapefruit/vetiver combination, but it wasn't that. I thought it might be galbanum, but it didn't have the cremy resinous quality I associate with galbanum, either, so I'm stumped. While I usually like both grapefruit and green scents, for some reason I didn't like Bel Respiro on me. The way it flirted with sweaty grossness was off-putting to me and it simply didn't agree with my chemistry.
28 La Pausa was a relatively straightforward iris scent with a masculine-leaning peppery orange on top. It was a bit weak, but won me over nonetheless.
I also found Coromandel quite interesting. It was a butterscotchy amber, but somehow felt classic and quite "Chanel" instead of feeling like a modern-day niche amber.
I ended up buying a bottle of 28 La Pausa, which I may end up regretting, but I was swept up in the Chanel magic...
More to come later...
Last edited by rogalal; 2nd July 2010 at 05:35 AM.
Rogalal - is Ubar Woman a new fragrance? Or is it the regular Ubar ( which is marketed to women )?
Ubar is definitely a fragrance that repays revisiting. I love florals, but Ubar is complex and took me a few wearings to "get it".
The next day, I made the trek up to the Creed boutique.
(Yup, it's another stolen photo - Day 3 and I still kept forgetting my camera)
This was easily my best shopping experience in New York. If anyone from Creed is reading this, the store manager Luis was exceptional. Funny, full of advice, and incredibly helpful.
The store itself is quite small, but the pictures really don't do justice to how nice all that white marble looks in person. I took advantage of the opportunity to smell a bunch of their scents I hadn't really tried before, and Luis was able to point out some of the lesser-known gems of the line.
He showed me the multi-page waiting list for the upcoming Windsor fall re-release. Seriously, if you want to secure a bottle, you'll probably want to call now. I couldn't help but wonder how many BNers were in those pages...
Some of my thoughts on the stuff I sniffed:
Royal English Leather: Sampled in honor of DavidBond007, it was sweet fruit and the typical woody classic Creed elements played up against leather. Really nice.
Royal Water: Great orangey citrus. I really liked it on paper.
Royal Delight: Imagine the sweet, almost cherry-like sweet elements of Original Santal mixed with the traditional woodsy ingredients common to the classic Creeds. Interesting.
Bois du Portugual: Yeah, I know. Why hadn't I tried it yet? The top was a pretty standard classic-smelling lemon, but the woody drydown was nicer than I expected.
Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare: Sort of a typical rose scent, with light hidden mint on top and honey in the base. I've smelled a lot of these and like most of them, but I'm still looking for one that gets the balance right for my skin. Hopefully, this will be it...
I picked up a Cocktail de Pivoines candle, which was an interesting sort of peach/flowers/mossy mix that smelled like a perfumey garden.
Oh, and to top it all off, I walked out wearing Windsor, from the last few drops of the last tester in existence in the known universe!
I'll do a review later, of course...
It's my bedtime, so I'm off for now. I'll continue tomorrow. I'm not even close to done yet...
Sounds like a lot of fun.
This is like the third or fourth Creed store impressions someone has listed here, but still no mention of the sample letters and warrants that they supposedly have on display inside the store...anyone have any info on this ?
Sounds like an amazing trip! I look forward to your next recap.
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Oh, and I just assumed Ubar has a male and female version like so many of Amouage's other scents. Sorry...
Rogalal, thank you for sharing your trip account. I like the sound of Smiley, based on your description!
Last edited by Haunani; 2nd July 2010 at 09:05 PM.
Super post! These should be "blogged" too.
It's was so great meeting up with you at Aedes, rogalal. I'm really enjoying your photos and reviews/observations. You certainly did some serious damage on this trip.
Rogalal, thanks for sharing the photos, thoughts and reviews with us. I envy you for going to LAFCO. That seems like such a cool place. Wait a sec....did you just use the term "Le Male" in the same sentance as my much loved Acqua di Cuba ......grrrrrr......you are my sworn enemy now !
Seeking: Bottles/decants : of Midnight in Paris EDP, Aramis New West, Alain Delon Iquitos, Feeling Man, Gucci pour Homme, Essence of John Galliano, Oxford & Cambridge, Azzaro pour Homme (vintage),...etc.
Seeking decant/sample of PdE Ambre Russe, Jil Sander Feeling Man, Comme des Garcons 2 Man, Giorgio VIP, ....etc. I have samples to swap.
Please PM me !
Krigler Juicy Jasmine 30 is a favorite of mine, so I guess I do love my jasmines "dirty". I fell in love with it on the spot! Luis is absolutely fantastic AND he really know his product.
When you were at LAFCO, did you try the SMN perfumes? They are on the shelf behind the main display in teeny, tiny glass bottles. The Claus Porto soaps are very nice too.
Sounds like you had a great time. Your write up reminds me to try my Ubar sample.
We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. ~Herman Melville
Sworn enemy, eh? This perfume stuff is serious business...
Of course, I also made it to New York's mecca of perfumed finery, the basement at Bergdorf Goodman.
(This pic stolen from Sniffapalooza's website)
My first stop was their Serge Lutens display. Last year, they were the only store in America to have some of the Paris exclusives, but there didn't seem to be anything there I couldn't find at home.
Then I checked out their Clive Christian counter, having read here that some stores had secret testers of their upcoming new scent. Alas, no tester, but they did have a new smaller size bottle. It's round like a cylinder, but has the same crown-shaped top. I'd guess that they're 30 ml. Apparently, they were introduced to give a much-needed less-expensive option. At this point, they're exclusive to Bergdorf's, but will soon be available everywhere.
I sniffed the Francis Kurkdjians again there, figuring I may have simply been in a weird mood when I found them a bit disappointing at Aedes. In the end, they certainly smelled nice, but weren't really my thing. But, according to the SA, they'll be launching at the San Francisco Neiman Marcus soon (OK, JaimeB, hold on to your wallet...). It'll be nice to get to know them better closer to home.
Aside from the new Eau flanker of Guerlain Homme, their Guerlain Boutique didn't have anything the SF one doesn't, so that saved me some time.
I ended up, naturally, at their hidden little JAR boutique. They had a few bottles of the original 80's formulation of Golconda, my personal favorite, which I had to try on. I also walked out with a sample of Jardenia on my other wrist, thanks to a recent thread here.
The best thing at Bergdorf's actually turned out to be a truly epic 40% off sale on candles upstairs in their home store. I went a little nuts and picked up a couple from Delerium & Co, a brand I hadn't heard of.
I got Blue Absinthe and Sweet Tobacco, both of which were really interesting. I also took advantage of the sale to pick up one of those D.L. & Co. Thorn Apple candles, which I'd wanted to try forever. The 40% off was enough to make me give one a try.
Then, buried in the back, I spied a big pile of Mariage Freres Le Parfum Du The candles! I'm an absolute addict of their amazing teas, and had heard that their perfume candles were unavailable. Woo Hoo! I picked up The des Mandarins (a beautiful jamsine oolong tea scent with citrus) and another one that's on the desk at my office, so I've forgotten the official name (though it's a nice green tea with rosehips and hibuscus).
Last edited by rogalal; 3rd July 2010 at 03:07 AM.
RHM, no I didn't see the little perfumes at LAFCO. Interesting... I'm glad someone here knows Juicy Jasmine, too.
After Bergdorf's, I hiked uptown to check out the Frederic Malle boutique.
(Yes, this is another stolen web pic)
They didn't have any perfumes I didn't already know from the Barneys in SF, so I concentrated on the candles.
I ended up picking up Saint des Saints by perfumer Carlos Benaim (the nose behind Polo, Eternity, and quite a few other notable hits), which is based on chemical analysis of the air in an Indian Hindu temple. It's really dense, heavy on the incense, but with smoke and food and hot cement in there, too.
Side note: The "rubber incense" they invented wasn't what I expected. For whatever reason, I thought it was little thin sheets of rubber that you'd burn like paper incense. No. It's like a red plastic mousepad with the Frederic Malle logo on it that smells like the candle scents. You're supposed to put it in a drawer or a glovebox or something...
Last edited by rogalal; 3rd July 2010 at 03:21 AM.
Great thread! What did you think of Jardenia?
Oh, and I asked for you. The good news: It's the least expensive JAR. The bad news: It's $430.
A couple of days later, I made it to Henri Bendel.
I sniffed their own new line of 6 perfumes, of which my favorite was, predictably, Incense & Musk. Their Pink Grapefruit & Vetiver was also nice, bearing a striking resemblance to the new Prada vetiver.
Someday, with a whole day to kill, I'll attempt to figure out their enormous Memory Liquide display, a giant pedestal counter space with hundreds of individual accords and notes that's gigantic and confusing. Anyone here know how it works?
For this trip, I was happy to sniff a couple of Etat Libre d'Orange scents, and then dive into the Boadicea the Victorious line. After all the talk here of Boadicea being kind of crude and amatuerish, I wasn't expecting much, but I was actually quite impressed. While they lack the polish of, say, your average Chanel, they weren't nearly as rough and naive as Nasomatto (which I love, by the way - that's not really a put-down).
Some of my thoughts:
Boadicea the Victorious Explorer: Woody resinous pine tar with incense. Kind of like a toned-down Nasomatto Black Afgano, but with the incense added. My favorite of the line (I'm pretty predictable), but it didn't strike me as necessary given the giant pile of woody incense scents I already own...
Boadicea the Victorious Seductive: Spicy fruits over woods and resins. This was almost a winner for me, but I ended up thinking it smelled kind of "designer" (too heavily mixed), despite the very "niche" note combinations.
Boadicea the Victorious Complex: Really interesting. Fruity resins and wet concrete. Woody. Leathery. Completely weird but appealing (like how Bulgari Black is just strange but somehow smells great - not that this smells at all like Bulgari Black - It just has a similar quirky appeal). I need to get a sample of this.
Boadicea the Victorious Pure: Peppery oranges, with possibly some sweet yuzu coming in later.
Boadicea the Victorious Invigorating: Cherry cigarette tobacco + fruity resins. Definitely interesting, but struck me as a bit too fruity to be in my comfort zone.
Boadicea the Victorious Alluring: A pretty floral over a sort of creamy base. Maybe sandalwood? Nice, and surely good for someone, but kind of "meh" after their more interesting offerings.
Etat Libre d'Orange Fat Electrician: Smoky & Creamy Vetiver. The creaminess (unusual in a vetiver frag, but they made it work) seemed to be a combination of vanilla, incense, and Iso E Super. It was leathery, too. It kind of reminded me of Tauer's Vetiver Dance, which paired vetiver with creamy incense, but minus the vanilla. Unfortunately, given some time, a weird note came through that I can only describe as the smell of an aquarium store. I'm not sure what it was, but it smelled like a combination of fishy water and fish food. Doh!
Etat Libre d'Orange Sécrétions Magnifiques: OK, I'm going to get graphic, so stop reading, please, if you're easily offended by gay discussion or other graphic bits...
...Ok. So the first spray of this is really quite gross, but not like I was expecting. It was salty iodine, so it was unpleasant in a chemical way, not a "body" way. I've read that it dries down to a pleasant salty floral, but I wasn't about to put it on and wait for that. So here's where I'll get graphic... Later that afternoon, I met up with an old fling and things got a bit hot and heavy. We were in a semi-public place (hey, I was on vacation - why not get a little freaky?) so I rather awkwardly wasn't able to immediately wash up. Walking out, I distinctly smelled Sécrétions Magnifiques, but I hadn't applied any of the perfume. It turns out that I was smelling my man-friend's own "sécrétions" on my hands (I warned you I was going to get graphic and you kept reading.... It's your own fault for not stopping when you were warned!). It was amazing how much the natural thing dried down to smell like the perfume, with one notable exception. While they both had that same salty iodine smell, the perfume didn't have any of the human elements, the sweaty man smell that invariably accompanies the smell of the real thing. Stripped of the human element, Sécrétions Magnifiques (the perfume) is like a crass chemistry experiment. I guess that's all part of the art of it (and I'm not sure anyone, gay or not, would actually want to perfume themselves with the smell of the aftermath of sexual relations in all of its intoxicating dirty glory). In all, I can appreciate the art of Sécrétions, but it's like one of those blank white canvases at the MOMA that's more important as a definition of what art can mean, rather than something you'd actually want to sit and look at.
Last edited by rogalal; 3rd July 2010 at 04:12 AM.
The last place I checked out was the infamously hard-to-find Caron boutique.
I have to admit that I really only had a passing interest in Caron, having tried their masculines and read about reformulation atrocities. But I wanted to see the legendary boutique and see if I could fall in love with Caron. Wow. It totally worked.
The boutique itself was cute, an explosion of gold and diamonds and little antique bottles and giant crystal urns. In a way, it was cheesy, but it was so clearly a remnant of another time and place, where this was a sincere expression of luxury and class that I had no choice but to stop being so post-modern and just give myself over to the fun of sitting on a gilded tuft bench while a nice lady poured perfumes out of big gold-crusted flacons for me to try.
Diane, the SA there, was wonderful and the whole experience was amazing. This is a must-see. If it weren't for the great time I had at the Creed boutique, this would have been the best experience on my vacation.
(This isn't a picture I took - I found it on the net, but that's Diane in front of the crystal urns)
We focussed on the urn fragrances. Say what you will about reformulations, every one of those extraits was rich, classic, and rivaled anything I've smelled in terms of dense, old-school refinement. Diane also said that there were pretty huge differences between the same scents in their different concentrations, with the extraits pretty much always being the richest and best.
Some of my thoughts:
Caron Tabac Blond: A female BN favorite, I had to start here. It was a very classic-smelling leather with a papery tobacco note. It wasn't the almost-gross tobacco of Le Male, but more like old, leathery parchment paper or antique books.
Caron Acasiosa: Juicy, effervescent pineapple over a very old-school mimosa. Like modern fruit poured over an classic aldehydic floral.
Caron Parfum Sacre: Pepper. Tons of black pepper with spices (largely cinnamon) over Caron's house mix of flowers (that rose/ylang/lily combination that makes that classic "floral accord"). It was quite masculine on top and ended up sort of fruity and resinous.
Royal Bain de Caron: Talk about a dandy smell! This was apparently created for a rather effete aristocrat who insisted on bathing in champagne, who contacted Caron to invent him a champagne-scented toilette water when prohibition cut off his supply. The smell was a completely novel mix of aldehydes and white grape juice that came off sort of like sparkly apple. It was undeniably fresh, but it a very old way, not the current department-store "fresh". Utterly different and completely classic at the same time.
After all that, the scent I ended up falling in love with was the Nuit de Noel extrait. Unlike the EDT, which came off more like a typical spicy classic, the pure parfum was a lightly-clovey carnation with fruity overtones (possibly coriander?) and hints of woody pine. There was that Caron floral mix in the heart, but the woody carnation with occasional pine in the silage was the star of the show. It sounds a little weird, but if you imagine Luten's Fille en Anguille having a rich, classy grandmother, this would be it. I wanted to just pick up the EDT and save money, but it was the extrait that really sang on my skin and I knew I'd just end up regretting it if I didn't just go for the real thing, so I picked up a tiny bottle of the pure parfum.
So that's it! A week and a few hundred dollars later, I'm back in town and back to normal, loaded down with samples (now would be a good time to check out my freshly-updated sample swap thread, BTW) and swimming in fancy candles.
If you're ever passing through NY, please do check out the Caron boutique. I really have turned into a slobbering Caron fan now. With the history and great scents and the surprisingly-inexpensive extraits, you really can't go wrong.
Also, don't skip the Creed boutique either!
Or Aedes, or Bergdorf's, or Saks, or Bendel's, or... (I could go on and on)
My only big regret was missing the new store MiN, which was closed when I managed to walk by it. It looked quite nice. I'm looking forward to a report once someone makes it there.