Coney Island by Bond No.9
Thread: Sample Of The Day - July 2010
Today I've been wearing Laura Tonatto Anena.
Anena is sold as a citrus, but to my nose it's mostly Cis-3-Hexanol Leaf Alcohol (that green, sort-of-aquatic note that's usually sold as lily of the valley). It's paired with citrus on top, which makes it pleasantly sweet and bright. The heart brings in a tiny touch of pine, which makes for an interesting mix of feminine green with masculine green. The whole thing gets soapy and powdery in the base, but the Cis-3-Hexanol stays prominent throughout.
Of the scents based on this note (most niche lines have a melony lily fragrance that's mostly this), Anena stands out as a bit more creative because of the simultaneous pine and soap, but you really have to like that artificial lily of the valley note for this to have any appeal. And, to be really honest, it smells more like a nice soap than a fine fragrance...
Last edited by rogalal; 10th July 2010 at 11:25 PM.
Coney Island by Bond No.9
Chanel Les Exclusifs 31 rue cambon This is something I would have never considered to sample, but thanks to a generous Basenote member who put this in with a swap deal, I love it
Yesterday I wore Hilde Soliani Iris.
Those are some ugly-ass bottles...
Iris was actually quite nice. It was the good, deep, nice iris (see my rant above) paired with a perfumey cherry note. In the base, some vanilla came through, and just when I was resigning myself to a lame sweet base, a serious old-school musk came in with the vanilla.
I ended up giving Iris 4 stars, just based on it smelling really good, but it lacked that indefinable magic that made Malle's Iris Poudre just work perfectly with my nose on first sniff, so I think Malle is still my winning iris scent, but I'd still heartily suggest Hilde Soliani's Iris to anyone searching out interesting irises.
Today I've worn Exclusive by Ronaldo Esper.
Apparently, Ronaldo Esper is a celebrity fashion stylist on Brazilian television who worked with an Italian perfume company to design some scents a while back. While they're quite respected in Italy, they seem completely unavailable and unknown everywhere else. Exclusive is one of his men's scents.
On top, Exclusive was mostly citrus, but I soon detected a very distinct note in the silage. Go to a public restroom and grab a wad of cheap brown paper towels and get them wet. That's the smell. Sometimes it's done with rosewood or tobacco leaf, or sometimes it's a facet of lavender. Whatever it is, it turns up every once in a while and I'm not a fan (for comparison's sake, this note seems to be Ava Luxe's musk of choice). It's too gross to describe here, but it reminds me of a very unclean man smell. That wet paper towel smell is the note upon which Exclusive is built. The citrus in the top is a bit awkward, while some boozy herbs in the heart and cedar in the base actually make for a good combination, but I could never really be happy wearing Exclusive, based simply on the fact that I just don't like that wet paper towel note.
If, however, you're a big rosewood/tobacco leaf fan (I know I'm pretty much alone in my dislike of it as a note), Exclusive could be grail material, so don't let me put you off of it with my own biases...
Last edited by rogalal; 13th July 2010 at 03:02 AM.
I've barely been sampling at all recently, nor have I felt moved enough by anything I have to write about it ( though I may still have really enjoyed the scent), but the first scent of a small order at TPC came in the mail yesterday and I just HAD to write about.
I Profumi di Firenze Brezza di Mare
To understand where I'm coming from, you must understand how long overdue me trying this fragrance is. It's been on my "To-Try" list since pretty close to when I joined BN. I mean how could I not enjoy the promise of the "salty airy freshness of a pristine sea breeze" and WATERMELON! Man I wanted to try it so bad. But hardly anywhere has it, and I wasn't about to overspend just to try it out. But finally TPC got it in about a month or so ago, so I'm now finally able to test this one out.
Short Review: Disappointing
Around 2 years ago, I went through a HUGE aquatic/marine scent phase where I sampled almost every major niche offering from this genre. I ended up walking away sort of empty handed in the sense, that I found these scents weren't for me after all. It seems as if there are 2 ways that houses seem to go when making an aquatic. You have the far more popular "marine" fragrance as I have dubbed them (for my own categorization), that I'm really not fond of at all. They feel cold and aloof, almost like what the beach might smell like very early on a cool morning, and almost eery silence, broken only by the crashing waves. To me at least it doesn't feel inviting or happy, which is what I'm looking for in a aquatic, not to mention they generally are slightly feminine, smell chemical, and employ an accord I call the "seaspray" accord. That slightly dank, floral, and lightly rotten smell you'd expect from the ocean. Chockfull of slight saltyness, brine, seaweed, and various other marine animals, it's not particularly attractive, but houses seem to love it. It's in Sel Marin, it's in Beth Terry Mare, it's in Aria di Mare, it's in Hyle AND it's in Brezza di Mare. As much as I'd like to break down these scents, this accord is overwhelming and it swallows everything else in these fragrances for me. Sure Brezza di Mare DOES have a Watermelon Rind accord that peeks in and out, but doesn't fully arrive until the mid to late drydown, but where's the warmth, the spice, the citrus? It doesn't feel natural AT ALL on skin, much in the same way that the others listed don't. As I mentioned earlier, there are 2 different types of aquatics I've found, I've just detailed the first one. The second one, is where I find much of favorites from this genre.
What I'm looking for in an aquatic is to capture the essence of the entire beach experience. I'm looking for something cheery and bright, something optimistic even. IMO, this cannot be done with out tempering the aquatics with heavy citrus. Sel de Vetiver has proven the most affective aquatic I've yet found. It's bright and sunny, but feels grounded and warm, you can feel the heat of the sun on the sand, you can smell the subtle spiciness of the deep ocean, and best of all, it smells completely natural to wear. Others that I've found to be successful include Bulgari Aqua and Preperation Parfumee.
So there you have it. My in depth foray into aquatics, and my utter disappointment with the lack of creativity in Brezza di Mare. It smells cold and synthetic, and quite honestly slightly inhuman.
Last edited by mtgprox05; 13th July 2010 at 06:29 PM.
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
MTG, I'm with you on niche aquatics. When all is said and done, I don't like that "aquatic" accord, the one that smalls like salty, herb-dusted rotten melon (if you don't know what I'm talking about, walk through a mall and smell the stench surrounding the A&F store). I seems like just about everyone uses some variation of this accord to simulate the ocean. Doh! I ended up cheating and settling on Fire Island, with it's salt-caked skin and mimosa-drenched tanning lotion smell, as my go-to beachy scent.
Today I wore Six Scents Series 1, Scent 3 - The Spirit of Wood by Cosmic Wonder & Philippe Paparella-Paris.
Pure, unapologetic wood. It doesn't drench itself in Iso E Super or dry down to a creamy incense. Instead, it's happy to smell like different variations on a dark forest for the life of the scent.
It's primary hinoki and cedar with some background vetiver giving a dark green vibe in the background. By the base, I smell gaiac wood (which has a facet that smells like oranges to me, so it's interesting to smell citrus in the base of a scent). Much later (it's been 13 hours now), I can smell a pinch of that "woody amber" note that I hate, but I never noticed it in the main duration of the scent, thank goodness - I guess it was part of what kept the scent feeling so dark.
In theory, The Spirit Of Wood is supposed to smell like walking through a eucalyptus grove, which is actually done without any eucalyptus because eucalyptus oil smells medicinal and reminds everyone of cough syrup. They actually do a really good job of pulling this off.
If you're a conehead or serious woody perfume enthusiast, you should really check out The Spirit of Wood before it becomes absolutely unobtainable (Six Scents are limited edition charity fundraisers and all of Series 1 is getting really hard to find).
I still think that Spirit of Wood smells like a woodier, slightly less green Windsor with the rose note removed. The cedar/woody accords are eerily similar, and anyone who likes that element of Windsor (or would like the woody element of Windsor to be amped up) should check out Spirit of Wood.
Similar woods + similar eucalyptus feel (although here it's more 'eucalyptus tree' where in Windsor it's more eucalyptus leaves or oil) = a pretty decent substitute.
Today I wore Montale Embruns d'Essaouira.
On the top, this was citrus, quickly joined by some watery flowers and some nondescript spices reminiscent of the spicy salty drydown of Acqua di Gio, but made more strange by the inclusion of the flowers. Given time, it faded down to a sort of salty iodine herb thing.
The biggest oddity about Embruns is that it seems specifically calculated to not smell like anything. Despite it being an EDP, it's incredibly weak, and there's something about it that kills your nose when smelled up close, rendering you inable to smell it for a few minutes afterward. To me, a scent specifically designed to create its own anosmia is basically a technical foul (sorry, Montale fans).
I can't see any point recommending this to anyone, unless you're curious about a perfume that makes itself unsmellable. If you want salty beach herbs, just pick up some ADG...
Today I wore La Prairie Silver Rain.
It kicked off with a nice juicy peach note paired with some toothpastey mint. This is an odd combination, the olfactory equivalent of drinking orange juice right after brushing your teeth. It's not entirely unpleasant (it was actually kind of endearing in its awkwardness), but it's certainly not your average pleasant perfume combination.
Over the next hour, it got darker and deeper as the mint morphed into an anise note. The odd combination of the anise and the peach was responsible for Silver Rain having a quite complex feel, but it was the awkward complexity of clashing notes, not the well-planned-out kind.
I was hoping that the green aspects of Silver Rain would win out, but alas, it eventually dried down to that generic sweet fruity floral base. Seriously, I think that Givaudan or whatever big fragrance house designs all these fruity floral scents has a house accord that they keep in giant vats. It's a sweet, pleasant mix of amber, vanilla, sandalwood, and spiced flowers that they use as a base for all their designer feminines so their chemists can avoid having to recreate new interesting bases for all these mall perfumes that people buy based on the topnotes alone. I smell this mix everywhere...
Anyway, I'm not sure who to recommend Silver Rain to. The top is definitely interesting, but in an awkward way, and the base is a total retread. If you just want a pleasant fruity floral, there are thousands of others that can be had cheaper. But the bottle's kind of cool - and that's probably the biggest selling point anyway...
Yesterday, I wore Guerlain Idylle.
It kicked off with a mix of citrus and a weirdly indolic rose note. This was quickly swallowed up by lily of the valley (specifically that Cis-3-Hexanol Leaf Alcohol note). While I couldn't really smell the rose, indoles, or citrus any more, I could tell how they were effecting the lily, with the rose sweetening it in a way that erased some of the green-ness while the indoles added a slightly dirty feel. This was definitely more interesting than most of these green lily frags I've tried. The other elements go a long way to make it feel more floral and intricate as opposed to smelling kind of simple and aquatic, which lily frags can often be.
As the base came in, it smelled like it was going to be that over used fruity floral base (see my rant in the Silver Rain post above), but it ended up being a very light resin (the kind that smells more like sweet fruit than incense) with some white soap. Oddly, the base is really, really weak compared to the rest of the scent, so the whole thing only lasts about 4-6 hours, with nothing but a sweet spot left after that.
All in all, the dirty floral rose/lily was quite nice, but the lack of longevity was sad. Like many current Guerlain mass-releases, it's fine, but certainly not anywhere close to many of their historical gems. If you're a Guerlain obsessive, you'll be able to find a reason to like Idylle, but I can't help but think that you could find something that does this better...
I've sampled Jacques Fath green water today. I've sampled this in the past and gave it a miss for some reason, but I've found it lovely today. There are similarities with other mint fragrances that have bergamot, orange, lemon, herbs notes etc but I've added this to my list to either buy a bottle of in the near future, or certainly get hold of a decant. It's no Selection Verte, but it's a damn site cheaper.
For the last couple of days, I've been wearing Creed Aventus.
All told, Aventus smells very Creed. There's that basic Creed recipe of citrus + leafy notes + synthetic ozone freshness + Creed ambergris base that accounts for most of their masculine scents from GIT to MI to Erolfa to Neroli Sauvage and many others. They all vary in their choice of citrus and the specific proportions of citrus, leaves, and synthetics, enough so that they all manage to smell different enough that we all tend to choose a favorite or two. If you're a fan of this particular Creed style, you'll likely enjoy Aventus. If you aren't, Aventus probably won't convince you otherwise.
It kicks off with the smell of Satsuma Mandarins (they're a super-sweet tangerine hybrid that has a huge cult following in the San Francisco foodie scene) which is quickly joined by the listed pineapple note. In fragrance terms, pineapple basically behaves like a citrus - it's a juicy, acidic, sweet, citric kind of smell - so it makes sense in the place of honor as the "citric" element of the Creed formula. The woody violet leaf takes a while to come into clear focus, but adds that trademark Creed dirty green-ness to the pineapple note. To put this in line with other Creeds, it's not as leafy as GIT or as ozonic as MI. The pineapple with the background green-ness is the dominant note, but it never smells like Ananas Fizz's prominent edible pineapple (that ozone and the leaf notes keep it from ever being that realistic) - in total it smells like a Creed, which is kind of a genre in and of itself.
To be honest, Aventus has faded before reaching the base both times I've worn it now. The trademark Creed ambergris base is hinted at more than actually present on my skin with 3 sprays.
In Creed terms, Aventus, of course, smells good. My biggest gripe is that it's not really up to Creed's standards in terms of concentration. Modern Creeds, from MI to GIT to Original Santal, seem to resonate off of skin in a way that suggests that they spent considerable time finding the absolute perfect concentration at which the scent seems to vibrate in tune with the human body. It's really hard to put this into words, but this is one of Creed's strongest points. Aventus doesn't do this. Instead, it's one of those scents that feels kind of weak when first sprayed, so you end up spraying too much, but then ends up fading quickly anyway.
I do like the pineapple, but I can't really see buying a bottle of Aventus. My textbook Creed needs are currently being met by M.I., which I think is a better scent, based only on technical terms like concentration and longevity. Aventus may smell a bit more natural, though. So I really can't see Aventus winning over any Creed haters, but I think it should be rightfully be embraced by the Creed lovers.
Last edited by rogalal; 19th July 2010 at 12:16 AM.
Quick thoughts on the Scents of Time samples I just got a few days ago:
Maya - lots of chocolate, vanilla, and tropical flowers (I pick up mostly a sweet, not particularly indolic jasmine, although there is a hint of a fresh/green accord, too). A hint of copal incense. Starts out rather fresh and sweet and becomes drier and more interesting in time. The chocolate isn't overly gourmand, and the incense does come out a tad more strongly in the late heart notes. This would be amazing if the copal note was amped up a few notches. As it is, it is still good and fairly unique. Leans quite feminine. The dark chocolate and dark jasmine notes, along with the hint of resinous incense just seem to suggest this would smell really amazing on an assertive latin woman. In my opinion, Maya is appropriately named and really does seem like something that may have been worn by the Mayans.
Pyxis - a very interesting, minty herbal chypre. This starts with a blast of peppermint and rosemary, with the basil and lavender in tow, and this accord slowly fades as the floral heart comes to the fore. The cool and refreshing elements provided by the mint and lavender never fully recede - thankfully, actually - as this makes the oakmoss supported floral heart not only far more unique, but actually far more beautiful. A garden of flowers beginning to thaw after the first freeze.
Night Star - I thought I'd like this one the most out of the feminines - violet, rose, lily of the valley, heliotrope, iris - some of my favorite feminine florals, and all of this handled by the great Christopher Sheldrake. I imagined a beautiful, ethereal and transcendent floral accord evocative of a romanticized celestial ship deck view. What I got was an overly powdery, overly sweet heliotrope bomb. The cherry facets of the heliotrope are strong, and it results in a sort of cherries and cream (with a nice dose of powder) accord, but it feels too sweet and too thick. This should have been named Sugar Star or (Mid)Night Snack. Eventually the sweetness recedes a bit and what is left is actually very feminine and quite pretty, but the road to get there is toothachey.
Ankh - a beautiful and wonderful incense scent that smells very, very natural. It starts out with muted citrus over juniper, although immediately a slightly dusty/sandy/woody accord is present, although faint. It transitions into a cleansing dry incense accord of juniper, calamus, and some green coniferous notes presented by the cypress and myrtle. In time the dry and dusty spices grow more prominent, as do the woods. It progresses slowly and seamlessy, which can make it easy to overlook its complexity. The wood/spice/frankincense accord grows stronger and if it did so unchecked, it would become too dry and irritating (or at least too austere), as some incense scents are prone to do, but slowly a soft honey and beeswax move in and add a beautiful and much needed counterpoint to the incensey accord. This is in some ways similar to the progression of Jubilation XXV, only in reverse. The birch tar becomes noticeable in the late drydown as a faintly smokey note. Ankh, at this point, truly does smell like I'd imagine it would if you were in a pyramid, surrounded by the aroma of age old stones accompanied by gently burning (or perhaps just extinguished) incense.
This scent does not project much, but I don't find that to be an issue at all, and actually FAR prefer my incense heavy scents this way. The reason why this doesn't project far, I imagine, is because of the very high use of naturals in the composition. It smells far more natural than Jubilation XXV for instance, and projects much less because of it. As far as projection goes, it is perhaps most similar to Les Nez's Let Me Play the Lion, and in fact does share some similarities with that scent, although Ankh smells more of stones and smoke and sandalwood and less of cedar and the gently swweet note in LMPTL (which I think is carnation absolute). The longevity is good, the blend transitions just seamlessy, and I really can't find anything to fault with this scent (surely not the price, either!). Truly one of the best incense scents around. Incense lovers owe it to themselves to check this out!
edit: I want to add that Ankh seems to have many aromatherapeutic properties, as well. The scent is calming and centering in an almost biological sort of way (as if it has nothing to do with the smell, but instead the qualities of the oils present). It might be the most natural smelling scent that is not truly all natural (it does list some synthetics) that I've ever come across. One of the few other scents I've ever tested with these qualities is AdP Colonia, and this smells at least as natural as that, if not moreso. Many know that I love Amouage, but I must say that this smells more natural than any Amouage or Xerjoff. I'm not saying that that makes it intrinsically better or even objectively (or subjectively) better, but for those who enjoy naturalness in fragrances (or conversely, do not enjoy obvious syntheticness) this scent is one to check out.
Last edited by SculptureOfSoul; 19th July 2010 at 04:18 AM.
Thanks for the Scents of Time reviews - I'd been wondering if they would end up being some sort of BPAL-esque cheap nerd-fest or if the big name noses would win out and they'd be good. I'll have to remember them the next time I do a Perfumed Court order...
This evening, I'm doing something different, wearing Opoponax Oil. It's from my local essential oil store and it's supposed to be the essential oil of opoponax gum:
First off, I have to say that I've been very wrong about what I thought opoponax smelled like. After having experienced the real thing, I'm pretty sure that every time I've seen opoponax listed in the notes of something, what I've been smelling and thinking was it has actually been frankincense. Of course, opoponax sounds cool and mysterious in a note list and marketing people lie, so I'm sure that has a lot to do with it...
Out of the vial, it's a really dense, multi-layered smell. There's a bright sharpness to it, like you get from crushing pine needles or lavender, but it's kind of simultaneously minty and piney, but neither. It's more of an undefined sharp brightness. This brightness plays up against a smell I can best describe as the hot rubber smell of an overheating car engine.
To be clear, this isn't a pleasant smell.
Given about a half an hour, the sharpness faded, leaving that hot plasticky rubber smell, which was quite sweet and well-rounded (I know that's a weird description, but resins usually feel "rounded" to me, the same way that creamy sandalwood or vanilla doesn't have any sharp edges). In a way, this heart stage kind of reminded me of ozone - not the perfumey "ozone" note used in aquatics, but actual O3, the chemical ozone, which smells like the inside of an overheated computer. But rounded and sweet. In a way, the sweetness was kind of gross. The sweetness of something so chemical and non-food is actually quite off-putting.
Finally, hours later, I'm left with a faded resin smell. Imagine the smell of the garden section of one of those giant home center stores - it's that distinct smell of potting soil, weed-killer, fertilizer, and plants all mixed together. That's what I'm getting from the base of the opoponax oil: sweet, rounded, slightly plasticky Miracle Gro.
Honestly, I can't point out a single scent where I've smelled this, except possibly the hot car smell of SMN's Nostalgia or possibly as an ingredient in one of those CDG Odeurs. If it weren't for the sharp, plasticky topnotes, the base would probably work great to give a green darkness to mossy frags, but it would take some epic topnotes to drown out the couple of hours of gross you have to sit through to get to the dank, green payoff.
Rogalal, if you're going to check out the Scents of Time scents, order the official samples direct from Aqua de Luna (http://www.aquadeluna.com/). You can get 5 official samples (in a nice 2ml size), in really nice packaging and with an additional brochure with more information about each scent, for a mere $15.. about $20 with shipping. It's an excellent deal as the samples are large and the brochure and sample cards are all well done and informative.
That sounds like a poorly distilled opoponax. It shouldn't be particularly plasticky. I find opoponax to be rather warm, very round, tart and dry. Like a mixture of white wine and myrrh and a non-sweet white musk. There is a subtle sweetness in it, which is usually brought out by pairing it with vanilla or coumarin, and I think such a combination is used almost always when an opoponax note is listed. It works well with such sweet essences by adding body to them, and balancing their sweetness and 'wetness' with its own tart and dry qualities.
Speaking of which, yesterday evening I wore a dab of Clary Sage Essential Oil.
Apparently, clary sage isn’t actual sage. That being said, I couldn’t resist comparing it to the sage leaves in my pantry. Going on, it smelled quite a bit like actual sage leaves, rubbed a bit to release their natural oils. It quickly settled to a smell that was an awful lot like plain, brown Lipton tea. This brown tea smell lasted a couple of hours before breaking down into a sort of slightly-plasticky mess that thankfully only lasted a few minutes before it reached a “basenote” similar to the mossy green smell of decaying forest mulch. This green mulch note lasted for quite a while, but was decidedly more faint than the tea smell in the heart.
I really enjoyed clary sage. I’ve smelled it in many of my favorites. It’s the mysterious tea note in Chergui, and the note that gives Hermes Un Jardin en Mediteranee it’s tea quality. It’s the basis for Green Green Green and Green, too.
In terms of perfumery, I can see how it would be good paired with fruits or lemongrass to make them smell like tea (Heeley’s Verveine springs to mind). It would also mesh well with woody basenotes because the herbal/tea heart and the mulchy green base would both theoretically smell great with cedars or the like.
Yesterday I wore Quelques Fleurs Royale by Houbigant.
QFR acts differently than other perfumes I’ve worn. Instead of proper top, heart, and base notes, it shoots out of the bottle with everything there at once in a loud crash of notes, which then slowly fades as the individual notes run their course. My guess is that this is a result of its incredibly high concentration – Even as an EDP, QFR is very, very strong and quite loud.
Quelques Fleurs Royale is mostly based on traditional “oriental” notes, a mix of spiced vanilla and amber with some patchouli for depth and a mix of rose and cassis on top. It’s not gourmand (at least until the very end) – it’s more like a classic jammy floral based on the mix of rose, cassis, and patchouli over a traditional “oriental” base.
The rose is the first to go, leaving the exposed cassis to get a little funky (which seems to be the biggest complaint in reviews), but I find that it makes sense and never gets nasty when surrounded by all the other strong ingredients. The mix of cassis and the “oriental” base accounts for most of QFR’s development. By the end of the day, the vanilla becomes more prominent, mixing with the remaining amber and light patchouli while some cinnamon that had been lingering in the background finally gets to come out and play. This stage reminds me of graham crackers, but in a symbolic “perfumey” way more so than literally.
If you’re a fan of traditional “oriental” scents (Coromandel comes to mind as an example, but not as anything similar), QFR may have some appeal. Or if you love a huge, loud, feminine classic that stays away from the powdery floral aldehyde formula, this may be grail material.
Today, thanks to Warum and the sniffing circle on the women’s board, I’m wearing vintage Houbigant Quelques Fleurs L’Original.
From the vial, L’Original smelled like aldehydes and a fruity mix of peach and some sort of sparkly pineapple soda. If that sounds artificial and gross, it really isn’t – the smell is actually quite awesome. Given a few minutes on skin, the pineapple faded, leaving the sparkly aldehydes to mix with a grape note (like the one in Royal Bain de Caron). This fresh grape note does its thing over a heavy white-musk soap smell, so the whole thing came together into a mix that smelled like bright, acidic white wine poured over old, expensive French soap.
This white wine/soap mix formed the heart of L’Original, until the grape note eventually faded, allowing some standard old-school powdery florals to come through (I smelled mostly rose and ylang, but I’m terrible at recognizing flower notes when they’re mixed together).
Given some serious time, L’Original had, by the late afternoon, faded to a smooth, soapy iris. There may have been some vanilla in there, but the mix was definitely more like that soapy clean musk than like anything even remotely gourmand.
I have to say that I really enjoyed Quelques Fleurs L’Original. The fruit paired with the aldehydes in the top smelled really great, simultaneously sweet and refreshing but without ever feeling dumbed-down or like some sort of little-girl fruity floral.
Also, this got me my first ever total-stranger “Wow, someone’s perfume smells really good” compliment from a girl at the coffee place this morning. Of course, she was looking around at the older ladies walking in to try to figure out who it was . I think I managed to confuse her when I said it was me, but she avidly sniffed my wrist and remarked that I smelled great. Score one for giving people the unexpected…
Yesterday I wore By Killian Prelude To Love.
It went on with a splash of refreshing orange-based citrus mixed with a petitgrain. I very quickly chalked this up as yet another 4711-clone, destined to follow the predictable recipe of citrus mixed with petitgrain fading to orange blossom and neroli. This isn't a bad thing, as this is a recipe I generally enjoy, and Kilian's orange note was crisp and refreshing and thankfully NOT that cheap fake orange that smells like Tang. The other thing Prelude To Love does differently is to add ginger, which sweetens the petitgrain and tones down its harsh aspects (really, petitgrain on its own has a violent, shocking quality to it that I don't like and the ginger goes a long way to mask this). Notes and revews of Prelude To Love mention iris, which I'm not really getting (Luckyscent even goes so far as to sell it as an iris fragrance and not a citrus). On me, the neroli is more citrusy than soapy (which I'd usually credit to iris) and I'm certainly not smelling any deep orris butter in the background. Maybe it's just different chemistry...
While the silage kind of gave up after a few hours, I'm getting some pretty serious on-the-skin longevity way into the late evening (thanks mostly to the neroli).
So, would I pay $225 for this? Not really. I can honestly say that this is behaving better and lasting longer than most of the memebers of this over-crowded genre, but that's an awful lot of money to pay to avoid that Tang note and add some ginger. If however, you're on a quest to try a wide range of citrus frags or want to get a feel for what the higher end of this genre can do, Prelude To Love is probably worth a sample.
Today I'm wearing The Different Company Oriental Lounge.
Oriental Lounge went on with a polite mix of amber (the lightly-powdery, not-too-sweet kind) and perfumey tonka. This mix accounted for most of the silage, while the smell on my skin was decidedly different. One minute it was boozy woods, the next it was spicy flowers. All the while, the cloud around me was basically perfumey amber.
Given time, the boozy flowery woody notes died down and sandalwood came in to mix with the amber and the tonka, leaving a base that reminded me of Tam Dao with amber over it.
Apparently, those boozy spice wood notes were all coming from some new note called "curry wood". It must be a bit challenging on its own if they decided to pair it off with such staid and traditional perfumey notes. As such, Oriental Lounge comes off like a nice, good-quality, traditional "oriental" scent with an interesting note in the background, which is fine, but I'd be much more interested in smelling this note again in a fragrance that brings it forward and lets it do its thing (L'Artisan, are you listening? You're good at those...).
In all, Oriental Lounge is pleasant and polite and has just a little bit of woody bite, and if that's what you're looking for, do check it out. If you like Havana Vanille or Tam Dao, this might be right up your alley, too, as it reminded me of both at different stages.
Today I wore Serge Lutens Rousse.
Does anyone remember that old Simpsons episode where they go to the movies and Homer tries to convince the kid behind the counter to put the popcorn butter on his Milk Duds? If you replace the milk duds with those cinnamon Red Hots candies, that's basically what the top of Rousse smells like.
I consider myself a pretty avid hater of that Red Hots cinnamon note (it's just too childish and artificial to have any place in serious perfumery, to me, and it can make almost anything smell like a super-cheap Christmas candle). Somehow, though, try as I might, I just couldn't hate Rousse. Through some sort of utter sorcery, the mix of butter and Red Hots (which sounds completely putrid in writing) actually works on my skin.
Given a couple of hours, the buttery candy faded, leaving (surprisingly) a very dark birch-heavy leather with vetiver in the background and just a touch of lingering cinnamon spicing it up. By the afternoon, this super-dark leathery woody vetiver note got sweeter as some labdanum came in, giving it a bit of resinous roundness to cut the darkness.
Late in the evening, I'm left with semi-sweet vanilla with some leftover labdanum to make sure that it feels "incensey" and not gourmand.
This is one of those Lutens that feels rich, and definitely goes through a lot of changes. It's not as rich as Arabie, and never got cloying, like some of them do. It's not as nuanced as, say, Chergui, but still has a lot going on. So, if you're a fan of the textbook Lutens (Chergui, Santal de Mysore, Arabie, etc.), you should really make a point of testing Rousse. I'm still not 100% sure I can forgive that Red Hots note, but I'm trying...
MPG Grain De Plaisir
I own this, but haven't worn it for a long time, and the last few times I wore it I was suffering a chemical sensitivity that distorted my perception of it. I'm not going to say a lot about it here, except to say that it is an excellent green aromatic that is quite herbal, warm, and woody.
It starts with a beautiful lemon note that is extremely natural. It is flanked by a hint of mint, a large dose of celery seed (which smells somewhat like celery but is simultaneously warmer and sweeter) along with perhaps some coriander seed, basil and a tiny touch of oregano or thyme. This slowly fades into an herbal heart that maintains the unique interplay of warm and cool notes (celery/mint), and eventually fades into an earthy base that still retains some aromatic qualities. There is a nuttiness to the woody element, and it smells a LOT like the drydown of Six Scents Series 1, No. 3 "Spirit of Wood."
An excellent aromatic green scent that is unique because it is one of the few aromatics that, overall, feels very very warming and even 'cozy', in a sense. Most aromatics are sharper, cooler, and more austere and aloof. In comparison, Grain de Plaisir is a careless afternoon spent lying on one's back in a field of parched, sand colored grass, watching the clouds drift lazily across the sky. The drydown is the memory of that day, rendered in sepia tones.
Last edited by SculptureOfSoul; 26th July 2010 at 04:11 AM.
On Friday evening, for Maureic Roucel day, I wore Frederic Malle Dans Tes Bras.
This will forever stand as the scent that Basenotes ruined for me...
A couple of years ago, after collecting designer scents forever, I finally wandered into Barneys, wondering if they'd have anything I hadn't tried. Of course, faced with an entire basement full of unknown niche scents, I was pretty floored. I ended up walking out with Dans Tes Bras, enchanted by its extremely bright topnotes (a mix of violet, which can be quite screechy, and lavender). A month or so later, I chanced upon Basenotes and started reading the reviews for my favorite scents. Big mistake.
One of the Dans Tes Bras reviews basically said "Eeew! It smells like mushrooms!". I sniffed myself (I was wearing it at the time) and thought "Eeew! It DOES smell like mushrooms!" and I haven't been able to really enjoy it since then.
Now that I know a bit more and my taste for the weird has grown, I was curious what I'd think about Dans Tes Bras, after leaving it to languish for a couple of years now. I still have a weak spot for the screechy, super-bright topnotes, and that salty mushroom smell still strikes me as just a little too weird for me to be comfortable wearing.
Oh well, this was a valuable lesson early on in my collecting to not make expensive purchases based on sniffing a card at the store, and as such, was worth the price.
So who would I suggest Dans Tes Bras for? You have to like violets, and loud ones at that. And you have to have a soft spot for quirkiness. All told, it's almost a retelling of the Cuir de Russie violets-over-leather story, but with a salty vegetal musk instead of the animalic leather, so if you're curious about what that would smell like, give Dans Tes Bras a sniff...
Today I'm wearing Parfums Llewelyn Stardust for Men.
From the top, Stardust reminds me of Creed's Original Santal because it has a very similar cinnamon-dusted sweet cherry note. Stardust isn't anywhere near as sticky-strong as O.S. and it doesn't feel as much like candy because it pairs this sweet cherry accord with a mix of herbs, most notably mint for the first few minutes, but eventually I smell everything from lavender to basil to juniper berry. It actually reminds me a lot more of MPG's Garrigue, if you take out Garrigue's rather over-the-top salty marine middle portion.
By the heart, Stardust was a more homogenous mix of that cherry candy and masculine spices, with some galbanum coming in underneath to round things out and fill in some green as the spices slowly faded.
The base is vanilla, with some lingering galbanum keeping it green-ish and resinous for a while.
All in all, Stardust was quite pleasurable. I liked it way better than Garrigue, and I think you could make a solid case that it's better thought out and more intelligently put together than Original Santal, but I have a weak spot for OS's loud candy smell, and Stardust's more reasonable volume and smarter composition just don't have the same oomph, even if they're probably technically "better".
So, if you kind of liked Original Santal but thought it was kind of dumb and loud, or if you like Garrigue except for the painful salt note, Stardust for Men could be very much worth sampling. Or if you're just interested in something that's intelligently sweet and almost marine-ish but without the silly melon notes or the other unfortunate trappings of the genre, you should probably try to track down a sample.
Catching up, yesterday I wore By Kilian Pure Oud.
Going on, Pure Oud smelled like a mix of pleasant toned-down oud and the infamous birch tar bongwater note in Nasomatto's Black Afgano. It actually worked really well together. The oud never got medicinal or plasticky and the mix was quite inspired.
By the heart, the bongwater note had faded into something remarkably similar to Tom Ford's Tuscan Leather, with the oud continuing alongside it.
By the base, the oud and the leather had both pretty much faded, leaving a very dark forest floor smell - a nice mix of green labdanum and cedar with vetiver adding a darker aspect.
Really, Pure Oud hit pretty much all of my most-loved notes in a clever way. The silage was more oud-heavy than the smell on my skin, so it never lost touch with the fact that it was supposed to be an oud and not a leathery woody incense scent, though it's pretty awesome as one of those, too.
Most of the complaints about Pure Oud center either on its price (which I'll agree is too much) or it being "dumbed-down", which I kind of disagree with. If your idea of what oud is supposed to smell like comes entirely from Montale's medical-waste-moldy-band-aid version of oud, Pure Oud will probably smell "simplified", but I've smelled some pretty expensive oud oils that smell much more like Pure Oud than a Montale. Sure, it doesn't smell like you set fire to a pile of moldy cow dung, but many of the finest ouds don't (thank goodness...).
So, anyway, if you like your ouds more woody and leathery or if you have a soft spot for really dark woody scents, I'd definitely suggest giving Pure Oud a try.
Continuing to catch up, I also gave a test wearing to Tom Ford Black Orchid.
Saturday night, I got together with some of my old friends I used to go out dancing with to go club-hopping. We ended up only making it to two clubs, but it was fun. They were gay clubs (for those who don't know me) and it was interesting being on a packed dancefloor again, smelling all of the crowd's scents. Back in the day, I still remember seas of men all reeking of CK One with the occasional guy passing by in Le Male. Saturday it smelled more like walking into the Macy's men's store - a heady swamp of that cheap faux-bergamot that smells like grape gum mixed with that metallic "woody amber" chemical. This smell isn't even anything I can pin down to a certain cologne. So many smell like that - everyone from Hugo Boss to Kenneth Cole to Vera Wang has one with those notes.
In a swarm of perfume mediocrity, I was really happy I'd chosen to wear something distinctive. Operating from a place completely outside of that smell-alike paradigm, Black Orchid manages to really stand out as something completely different from the rest of its mainstream designer family.
So what does it smell like? Based on the many reviews, it apparently smells different on different people. On me, it kicked off with that coconut note from Virgin Island Water mixed with the smell of papaya juice (like they sell at those weird papaya juice stands all over New York). This sweet tropical mix was contrasted with what I can best describe as gardenia - that indolic-but-not-flowery smell that's kind of like stinky cheese. Yeah, I know. That sounds awful. Coconut and papaya over stinky cheese and indoles?!? I wanted to hate it. Based on the notes, it should have been an instant scrubber, but somehow it works. Somehow, all those horrifying notes somehow balance each other and it all comes together to smell simultaneously weird and appealing.
I seems odd to call something this utterly strange feminine, but, at least by definition, Black Orchid is a fruity floral (hey, it does have fruit and flowers). I find it masculine enough to wear, though I can't imagine wearing it to work or out to a random dinner, or spraying some of this after the gym. Come to think of it, with it's strong silage and weird sweetness, it's probably perfect for wearing to a club. But not some straight club full of ADG-soaked guidos (that's what Original Santal is for...). It pretty much has to be a gay club.
So there you have it. Black Orchid = perfect gay club scent.
So, should you try it? I guess that depends on whether or not that description offends you...
Today I sampled:
Burberry London, Guerlain L'Instant, Guerlain Homme L'Eau, YSL La Nuit De L'homme, Davidoff Silver Shadow Altitude, Davidoff Adventure Eau Fraiche, Boss Bottled Night
Burberry London (on card) - I liked it best. Very unique. It smells like ginger bread with cinnamon, I also smell bit of tobacco. Can be nice winter fragrance. I may buy mini of it later. Direct competition from my wardrobe - Pure Malt.
Guerlain L'Instant (on card) - I sampled this 3rd time. Opening is very strange, i'd say its for old guy in formal suit, later it become enjoyable, I absolutely love cocoa note on drydown and would probably prefer EDP over this. Overall its nice and unique fragrance for gentleman. I may get EDP blind If I can find it for good price. Direct competition from my wardrobe - Dior Homme.
Guerlain Homme L'Eau (on skin) - fresh lemon opening. Drydown into note that reminds me Encre Noire without darkness (maybe vetiver?). Smells luxurious and elegant. I like it and will eventually buy it sometime. Direct competition from my wardrobe - Bvlgari Aqva.
YSL La Nuit De L'Homme (on card) - to me its mainstream evening scent that is competition to Armani Black Code. Sweet and spicy. Reminds me lot Black Suede Touch by Avon. Its type of fragrance that I would never buy after sampling because its nothing groundbreaking. Direct competition from my wardrobe - Avon Black Suede Touch, Armani Black Code
Davidoff Silver Shadow Altitude (on skin) - fresh fruity opening, fruity drydown. Overall I like it lot and I was looking for fragrance like this few months ago but right now I think I dont need it. It smells exactly as its priced. Would be great daily fragrance for youthfull. Direct competition from my wardrobe - Acqua Di Gio
Davidoff Adventure Eau Fraiche (on card) - lemon lemon lemon with something green, drydown lemon with something green. It cant be more generic. My father like it but I like Silver Shadow Altitude MUCH better. I dont have anything like it in wardrobe, but out of my samples it reminds me most L'Eau D'Issey PH
Boss Bottled Night - I liked this best at opening, actually I liked it best for first 15 minutes. Then later it became clearly most boring generic synthetic fragrance out of everything I sampled today. Direct competition: any Hugo Boss lmao.
Last edited by dreamer81; 28th July 2010 at 07:26 AM.
Dreamer81, if you liked aspects of Guerlain L'Instant, try to hunt down a sniff of their Cologne Du 68. It has pretty much everything L'Instant does, but with more wood and green notes added, and better boozy vanilla in the base. It's harder to find, but if you can track down a sample, I'd highly suggest it.
Also, be carefull of Burberry London. It works better on paper than on skin. It smells good, but it tends to fade really fast and then end up very quiet, which I found really frustrating. But only some people have this problem, so I'd highly suggest that you should give it a real skin test before buying...
Anyway, today I wore Les Plus Belles Lavandes de Caron.
I have to admit that I find it amazing that there are still no reviews of this here on Basenotes. Seriously, a new men's Caron and no one cares?? Vibert? JaimeB? Not even a SirSlarty?!
Officially, it's a unisex flanker of Pour Un Homme. Bafflingly, it was originally sold only in 750 ml bottles (that's the same size as a bottle of wine, BTW) and only in France - It's almost like they wanted it to fail. Now, it's spread to America and is available in normal 100 ml bottles, thank goodness.
So what does it smell like? Well, you should probably know Pour Un Homme for the sake of comparison (lavender and lemon over musky civet-drenched tonka that smells like lavender, pee, and lemon cleaner in the heart and dries down to a rich civet/tonka musk in the base). LBPLDC takes out the lemon and replaces it with amber, which actually goes really well with the lavender - they both share an almost medicinal sharpness that allow the notes to fade effortlessly into each other. LBPLDC also takes out (almost all of) the civet, so the topnotes don't smell like pee anymore. Instead the top is a very clean lavender with subtle hues of amber. In the heart, vanilla comes in instead of civet and tonka, making for a really nice, simple modern take on a fougere. By the base, the lavender has mostly died down, with the amber taking over as the source of brightness and the vanilla staying on the "oriental" side, as opposed to the super-sweet gourmand side. By the late afternoon, the tiny bit of civet finally comes through once the amber fades, leaving a few hours that smell quite a bit like Shalimar.
So, if you like your lavender scents very old-school, you'd probably really enjoy LPBLDC. It seems catered to people who like the idea of classic lavenders but can't quite stomach the filth of Pour Un Homme or Jicky. It's simple, with the only notes being lavender, vanilla, amber, and musk, but it proves that a few notes can do amazing things if mixed right. The vanilla also does make it feel more current, but this is still a million miles away from anything you'd smell at any given mall.
Come on, Basenotes. This has been out for a couple of years now. I can't be the only person here with a sample...