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  1. #1
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Smell anything new and fun? Please share your thoughts...

    ************************************************** **************

    Yesterday I finally wore Christian Dior Dior Homme.



    Yeah, I'm a little behind on this one. Mostly because I never really liked it on paper at the store, so I never bothered to get a sample. Imagine my surprise when it ended up smelling really great on my skin...

    At the heart of Dior Homme seems to be a mix of orris root and vanilla, but they seem to keep some sort of green notes going at most points, also. I could never have figured it out without reading the notes, but it's apparently sage in the top keeping things from going gourmand. In the heart, I swear I smell some strawberry, but the scent is still dominated by the orris/vanilla combo, even as some leather notes come in. Sadly, the leather notes smell kind of plasticky to me, and proved to be the reason I'm not running out to buy a bottle right now.

    Given time, the base was more orris and vanilla (with the vanilla eventually outlasting the orris), joined by some green galbanum and oakmoss, keeping things in classic chypre territory instead of letting things go gourmand.

    My overwhelming thought was that Dior Homme would completely make more sense as a Chanel Exclusif than a mass-market mens designer scent. It's unisex in the niche/luxury way, not in the Macys cologne counter way. The only thing keeping this from being a textbook mid-century feminine scent is the lack of aldehydes and upfront flowers in the topnotes. Other than that, this is very much a classic feminine recipe. Which is a compliment, not a put-down.

    I can see why this is so often thrown around as a must-try iris scent. I'd also suggest that women who enjoy the Chanel/Patou style classics should really give Doir Homme a test-wear. Oh, and don't trust how it smells on paper. It need skin to shine...
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    This morning I wore a sample of Six Scents, Series 1, No. 3, "The Spirit of Wood." (If I'm not mistaken, I got my sample from rogalal some time ago, so it's fitting that I weigh in on one of these threads he's so kind to keep rolling...)

    I blind-bought the very same scent a few days ago. I was buying a favorite from Series Two, and I wanted to bump my order up to the free-shipping minimum, and Spirit seemed like one of the best-reviewed of the bunch. I thought I had a sample around the house somewhere, to try before buying, but I searched and couldn't find. Then I was going through a travel kit last night and there was the missing sample, with a bunch of others I threw together to take on a recent trip.

    Thankfully, I thoroughly enjoyed today's sampling. I've read more than one comparison between Spirit and CDG/Monocle Hinoki, and that association makes sense to me, but Spirit is less warm/dry than Hinoki -- it has a cool/fresh woodiness that I also find in CDG Man 2. On the other hand, Spirit has none of Man 2's smokiness. Finally, it seems to have loads of Iso E Super in common with both of those CDG comparison scents.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    Smell anything new and fun? Please share your thoughts...

    ************************************************** **************

    Yesterday I finally wore Christian Dior Dior Homme.



    Yeah, I'm a little behind on this one. Mostly because I never really liked it on paper at the store, so I never bothered to get a sample. Imagine my surprise when it ended up smelling really great on my skin...

    At the heart of Dior Homme seems to be a mix of orris root and vanilla, but they seem to keep some sort of green notes going at most points, also. I could never have figured it out without reading the notes, but it's apparently sage in the top keeping things from going gourmand. In the heart, I swear I smell some strawberry, but the scent is still dominated by the orris/vanilla combo, even as some leather notes come in. Sadly, the leather notes smell kind of plasticky to me, and proved to be the reason I'm not running out to buy a bottle right now.

    Given time, the base was more orris and vanilla (with the vanilla eventually outlasting the orris), joined by some green galbanum and oakmoss, keeping things in classic chypre territory instead of letting things go gourmand.

    My overwhelming thought was that Dior Homme would completely make more sense as a Chanel Exclusif than a mass-market mens designer scent. It's unisex in the niche/luxury way, not in the Macys cologne counter way. The only thing keeping this from being a textbook mid-century feminine scent is the lack of aldehydes and upfront flowers in the topnotes. Other than that, this is very much a classic feminine recipe. Which is a compliment, not a put-down.

    I can see why this is so often thrown around as a must-try iris scent. I'd also suggest that women who enjoy the Chanel/Patou style classics should really give Doir Homme a test-wear. Oh, and don't trust how it smells on paper. It need skin to shine...
    Well, now that you've tried the original, it's time to try the Intense and Cologne versions!
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    got 5 samples in the post today
    frederik malle - musc ravageur
    caron - third man
    caron - yatagan
    lutens - chergui
    perfume generales - papyrus de ciane

    trying yatagan and chergui today, first impressions? think i prefer the chergui.

  5. #5
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by mtgprox05 View Post
    Well, now that you've tried the original, it's time to try the Intense and Cologne versions!
    Are either of them improvements on the original? I'm a little scared of flankers...

    Yesterday, to compare and contrast, I wore another masculine-friendly iris, Chanel 28 La Pausa.



    In contrast to Dior, which was incredibly smooth, 28 La Pausa is quite rough. It's not Yatagan or anything, but I always think of Chanel as being ultra-smooth iris and suede, but 28 got a little funky.

    To start with, 28 La Pausa is based on that kind of iris that has subtle hints of bleu cheese in the background (like MPG's iris, but not nearly as scary). It has orange on top, made dirty with a combination of pepper and a pinch of lavender. This combination of orange, pepper, and cheesy iris makes up most of the top and heart of 28. Eventually, the iris dies down to a sort of sweet soapy smell while the orange and pepper fade as well. Then surprisingly, a rather obvious vetiver note comes through, mixing with the irisy soap like some sort of punked-out Gendarme. It gets sweeter as the day goes by, eventually revealing labdanum and possibly some other sweet resins, still over that irisy soap.

    In the end, I think I liked Dior Homme better than 28 La Pausa. Though they're based on the same ideas, the Dior is all about suave refinement, while the Chanel seems to focus on walking the line between dirty and clean.
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  6. #6
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Today I'm wearing another Chanel, Bel Respiro.



    Bel Respiro kicked off with green ivy leaf over a sort of soapy musky smell, which was probably an intricate combination of flowers and white musk, but basically smelled like expensive, old French soap but somehow less specific. This confusing-expensive-soap-with-green-notes proved to be the theme of Bel Respiro. In the top and the heart, there was something bright and citrusy as well (the first time I tried it, it was much hotter and I got grapefruit and vetiver, which I didn't smell much at all this time). Slowly, the ivy leaves morphed into petitgrain, which then led into hawthorn (that bright woody note that Creed loves in their classics) and eventually into sweet, green resinous galbanum. If this sounds like some sort of dream green woody scent, bear in mind that the biggest element is always the confusingly diffusive old French soap smell. It's almost like a green woody fragrance trapped in a fog of confusing soapy chemical smells. At points, I even thought I smelled a pinch of "woody amber" contributing to the non-specific cloud. To make things more confusing, the smell on my arm was generally fairly light, while the soapy weirdness threw off plenty of silage.

    I've honestly avoided Chanel scents for quite a while now, just because I find them so confusing. Bel Respiro isn't doing anything to make me less confused...

    But I know it's quite well-loved around here with people who know much more than me, so I may be missing something, but I guess I personally prefer my scents with a bit less mystery.
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  7. #7
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Yesterday evening I gave a wearing to Serge Lutens A La Nuit.



    I think this is officially now my favorite jasmine I've tried, but with a huge warning.

    To start, it smelled just like the jasmine in really expensive jasmine tea. It didn't have that bubblegummy smell you get with real jasmine oil (which is fun, too, but it's that tea jasmine that I've been searching for). It had some distinct indoles going on, but they only stuck out for the first minute or two. After that, all was perfect. Given a while, the jasmine died down to a sort of minty green base.

    My only problem? Holy crap - it's so strong! A half a squirt released absolutely lethal jasmine fumes, tearing down the block ahead of me and completely filling my office with the smell of fancy jasmine tea. Then, it ended. After a few hours, the jasmine just sort of died away, leaving just a thin, transparent green nothing of a base.

    If this were more of a standard strength that made me more comfortable wearing it, I'd pick up a bottle in a second. I'm no fragrance apologist, but I just don't want to smell this strong.

    But, for those who enjoy throwing some silage around and love themselves some jasmine, A La Nuit may be your grail...
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Today I recieved samples of Chanel PM, Aramis Havana, and Cartier Must Pour Homme. I have only tried the Cartier and I already like it although I can't describe it well.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    Are either of them improvements on the original? I'm a little scared of flankers...
    100% YES! But, perhaps not improvements, but embellishments, in either direction. Now, just so you understand, because many on here don't. Dior Homme Cologne, is EDT strength, NOT EDC. DHC happens to be a top 5 scent for me, as I think it's the far better and more wearable alternative to the original. While the original seems to just sit on skin, DHC becomes a part of the wearer. And the Intense version is Dior Homme with chocolate and leather amped up.
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  10. #10

    Smile Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    I sampled By Kilian's Back to Black a few nights ago but neglected to write anything down and now I've forgotten what I wanted to say. Oops.



    Last night I wore Parfumerie Generale's L'Ombre Fauve.



    Amber scents are among perfumery's oldest ideas but remain easy to like. Invariably, niche firms see this as an excuse to crank out ditzy, unambitious versions at a fivefold markup. Thankfully, PG have not quite gone this route with L'OF.

    The scent out of the vial is a less extreme, ahem, version of L'Artisan's Ambre Extreme (the first niche scent I ever sampled, btw), buttery and sweet. On skin, it begins as a slightly animalic vanilla with a touch of spice and a curious, raspy undertone of dry wood. The heart is has a wonderful "old books" quality to it with a slightly musty angle. "Musty", however, soon became "wet, almost mildewy", which I attribute to the use of patchouli here. This unusual phase eventually recedes to a bog-standard amber drydown.

    As an aside, mildew fascinated me as a child. I didn't "like" it, exactly; mostly, I was intrigued by its aggressive weirdness. Fishing around under the kitchen sink between chores for some humble cleaning product became a forbidden adventure, as did hanging up a wet bathing suit after a day at the beach.

    I appreciate Monsieur Guillaume enabling my olfactory trip down Memory Lane but I cannot realistically imagine wanting to smell of this. Had the patchouli been employed more closely in conjunction with what came before and after it, I could see myself really liking this. It also leans a bit femme, as amber does. I will definitely bust my sample back out this winter, to see if the shadow beast finally grabs hold.

    3.5/5


    I am leaving for India at the end of next week--from JFK, alas, so the rare treasure that is LaGuardia will have to wait. I will be in NYC tomorrow to sort out my visa, which should give me plenty of time to dick around in midtown. The Caron boutique seems like a must-visit () and I will make it to either Saks or Barney's. One of these days, I need to get down to C.O. Bigelow, too.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Hermèssence - Osmanthe Yunnan
    I was eager to try this since Luca Turin rated it a 5 star fragrance. I do have a 5 % osmanthus solution at home and honestly, I could only for a short while detect a faint idea of osmanthus in this. A fresh, fruity opening that I am not even tempted to think about its notes. After 15 minutes Osmanthe Yunnan is a mere skin scent. I have come to the conclusion that Jean-Claude Ellena is not my parfumeur at all, sorry, 'eau-de-toiletteur'. Are you willing to pay 170 Euros for 100 ml of a watery vanishing Eau de Toilette Hermèssence fragrance like this?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Larimar View Post
    Hermèssence - Osmanthe Yunnan Are you willing to pay 170 Euros for 100 ml of a watery vanishing Eau de Toilette Hermèssence fragrance like this?
    Actually, probably not - but I have twice included it in the 4 x 15ml box-sets from Hermes along with Vetiver Tonka, Rose Ikebana, Vanille Galante and a couple of others. I kept one for myself and gave one to a lady who enjoys it a lot - lovely summer scent.

    Have you tried The Different Company Osmanthus, which is the earlier study and a very simple, bright number. If it's pure clean upbeat osmanthus you're after this is a good place to start. It really is happiness in a bottle IMO. Like most of the Hermessences, Osmanthe Yunnan seems to be a play on two ideas and I personally really enjoy the shift in emphasis from Osmanthus into the milky Tea aspect (that then stays around for a lot longer for me) but I can understand how it might not appeal to some.

    The small white osmanthus petals are used in several desserts here in summer as well as Osmanthus Oolong Tea and I think Ellena has truly nailed it with both of these scents - I guess it's just a matter of style and taste as to whether it's your thing or not
    Last edited by mr. reasonable; 6th August 2010 at 04:16 PM.

  13. #13
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Larimar View Post
    Hermèssence - Osmanthe Yunnan
    Are you willing to pay 170 Euros for 100 ml of a watery vanishing Eau de Toilette Hermèssence fragrance like this?
    That's exactly how I feel about Vetiver Tonka. It smells great, but it takes a gallon of it to smell like anything on me. One or two sprays are utterly pointless...

    Yesterday, I wore another Chanel Exclusif, Coromandel.



    Aparently, this is Chanel's patchouli scent.

    Sometimes, patchouli can have a dirty element - not animalic, but literally like dirt. So can lavender. On my skin, the main theme of Coromandel was the mix of dirty patchouli and dirty lavender. There was a lot more going on (orange and mint in the topnotes, some nice chocolate elements, and some sweet resins in the base), but the central elements were always the dirty patchouli and lavender.

    All in all, it was nice (and it scored me a compliment, too), but I'm just not a huge patchouli fan. But, if you are, I think Coromandel would be a really interesting sample.
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  14. #14
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Having run out of Chanel Exclusif samples, today felt like a good day to start working my way through a sample pack of Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire. Being in an iris mood, I started with the one that seems to have gotten the best reception, Bois D'Iris.



    Well, this totally lived up to its name.

    The top was a mix of iris with smooky cedar (the forest-smelling kind, not the hamster kind) and a blast of Iso E Super. It was remarkably dry. I've grown used to iris mixed with vanilla or creamy sandalwood, so I think of it as a creamy note, but Bois d'Iris left it completely dusty and dry. It meshed together with the cedar so efficiently that it ended up smelling almost like a whole new kind of super-dry blond wood.

    Given time, that Tabac Blond tobacco note (and maybe a pinch of rosewood) came in and pushed the iris and cedar to the background. By the afternoon, the creamy base of the Iso E Super appeared and finally eased up the dryness. Later in the day, I was mostly just left with a not-too-sweet vanilla.

    I liked Bois d'Iris, but I think it has taught me that I do prefer my iris combined with something more creamy and luxurious. On paper, this is absolutely perfect for me (cedar and iso e super? sign me up!), but I ended up finding it a bit formal and austere. There's an androgynous, hedonistic, effete luxury to a good creamy iris and I think that's more what I like about it. Using it as a dry woody note masculinized it, but while you'd think that would give it more of an edge, it actually makes it less edgy than L'Heure Bleue or even Dior Homme.

    That being said, if you're a fan of wood scents and haven't found an iris you really like, this could easily be it.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    I agree that VC&A Bois d'Iris is a winner. I've had it for a while, and it comes close to some other niche iris/orris root offerings. Way up there in my list, anyway!
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

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  16. #16

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010


    Today I'm wearing my brother perfume (first time) which is Adolfo Dominguez -Bambu.
    The notes are:bamboo,amber,cotton flower,marine notes and jasmine (according to fragrantica.com).
    Sorry I can't make a detailed review,(I'm not very experienced) but all I can say is that this perfume is awesome.To me is all about the green notes,strong and a bit bitter at the beginning.The rest of them are very subtle. It has a good longevity ( above 6 hours) and projection.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    That's exactly how I feel about Vetiver Tonka. It smells great, but it takes a gallon of it to smell like anything on me. One or two sprays are utterly pointless...
    Lucky me I guess. It was almost too strong when I first got to test it the other day.
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  18. #18

    Lightbulb Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    I have been rushing about trying to get my things together on Wednesday but I just wanted to report that my NYC trip was a massive success. Miraculously, I somehow managed to end up not purchasing anything on the day, mostly because I want to keep my duty-free options open, but there were some big winners that will find their way into my wardrobe soon enough.

    So, highlights (no pics, sorry; I'm not the sentimental type):

    • Barney's ended up being all about the vetiver. Sel de Vetiver's briny brilliance ate away at my heart, Vetiver Extraordinaire is the Real Deal Holyfield of vetivers, and Grey Vetiver was rather better than I thought it would be. I tried lots of other things in lots of other genres there but these three made the podium. It turns out that not all vetivers bother me, just most of them. I also wanted to like Sables, Eau Noire, and Chypre Rouge more than I did, especially Sables, the most interesting of the lot but unfortunately just unwearable. Geranium pour Monsieur is quite good, too, but it is SdV that will be mine someday (probably next April or so, given the spring/summery vibe of its perfection).

    • Bendel's carries a (mostly) dignified range of designer and niche stuff, a sort of mini-Luckyscent. The Piguet EdPs caught my eye immediately, and I went straight for Bandit (a little harsh in the top, but wonderful in the drydown), Futur (green, herbal, slightly bitter--Paco Rabanne PH in a dress?) and Baghari. Oh...Baghari. Technically, it is a chypre but I have never smelled a candied-orange topnote quite like that, rather like a Dutch-style orange pomander dotted with cloves and nearly as long-lasting, too. I kept waiting for it all to come tumbling in the drydown but it held together wonderfully. I also really, really enjoyed Etat Libre d'Orange's Fat Electrician (vanilla-vetiver) and Tilda Swinton Like This (pumpkin-spice oriental), but Baghari is pretty much the first thing I am purchasing when I reenter the country.

      The Bendel's SA, Giuseppe, was unfailingly kind and incredibly generous. In addition to foisting samples on me of everything that I offhandedly-remarked that I had liked, he mentioned a few interesting things. Apparently, Michael Edwards (he of the Fragrance Database) had been in a few days earlier trying to convince Bendel's higher-ups to carry both Andy Tauer's line and that of a Siberian perfumer (??) whose name I did not get. Also, ELd'O is releasing a new fragrance in November or so called Chicks with Dicks ( Haha) and another, as-yet-unnamed limited edition fragrance to be sold over the holidays as a Bendel's exclusive, I think. Looking forward to it, as this outfit has rapidly become my new favorite niche line.

    • The Caron boutique was a little hard to find, up there on the second floor of the PHYTO Salon, but absolutely worth it; rogalal was right, if you are ever in NYC, you *have* to come here. First off, those urns are gorgeous. Second, Diane, the Caron ambassador, is the most knowledgeable SA I have ever encountered. I spoke with her for about an hour, uninterrupted (as there were no other customers), and by the end of it, she was throwing various facts and books and pictures and samples and old versions of current scents and secret versions of unreleased scents at me, and I greedily lapped all of it up. I must have said "wow" more in that hour than I have in my entire adult life. The two standouts among those I sampled were Pour un Homme Impact (which is parfum strength, not EdP as I had thought; the lavender in the opening is the best I have ever encountered, and lasted a solid two hours on my skin in 90F weather) and the (discontinued??) Coup de Fouet (peppery, like its sister Poivre but slightly more transparent and wearable). In appreciative hindsight, I wish I had bought something from there, though I expect I will rectify that situation somewhat in the coming years.

    • Bergdorf's Men section was merely OK, though I finally got to try Habit Rouge Beau Cavalier. It was as advertised, HR + oud, and you know what? It works! I want this. I went back across the street to the Basement and the women's section to try my luck with the rest of the old Guerlains but none had me swooning (Shalimar parfum is something though, ain't it?). Annick Goutal's Vetiver has an interesting saline character and a few of the Jo Malone's are OK, if a bit weak. Unexpectedly, I finally got to try Sisley's Eau de Campagne, tomato leaf and all; very nice, something I will revisit, but nothing I can see myself wearing now.


    And that was it. I did end up going back to Bendel's late because I just had to give Baghari a skin test and I had forgotten to sniff Secretions Magnifique. SM is quite abominable--blood and semen, metallic and tenacious--and serves, to my mind, as a reminder how diverse our respective tastes are, because there are clearly people out there who adore and wear this stuff.

    Well, God love 'em, because I found a few other things that day I feel the same way about.
    Last edited by Emlynevermore; 10th August 2010 at 06:29 AM. Reason: No reason...I just didn't want the "Edit" notification to feel neglected through lack of use.

  19. #19
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Emly, I'm glad you finally got in your epic shopping trip! And you even found some tomato leaf to smell! Whatever you find at the Duty Free had better be pretty epic to be worth passing up so many winners...

    Anyway...

    It seems I’m a little behind, but I’ve continued working my way through the Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire.

    Today I’m wearing Orchidée Vanille.



    Vanilla, yes. Orchid, no. Seriously, most orchids don’t even have a smell. Semantics aside, Orchidée Vanille went on with vanilla (duh) and some sweet ginger with some other nondescript fruity things going on in the background (definitely cassis giving it a bit of a fruity floral vibe, as well as something citrusy). Something here (probably the mix of ginger and vanilla) made for a mix that smelled quite a bit like some sort of root beer float-flavored candy, which kind of cheapened the topnotes for me. This candied root beer note faded within an hour or so, leaving the vanilla to slowly darken and feel a bit more chocolaty, until, by the late afternoon, I’m left with some chocolaty vanilla with something almost dark and woody (kind of like toasted nuts) lurking in the background.

    Orchidée Vanille somehow managed to walk the like between an insipid candied fruity floral and a deep, interesting “oriental” fragrance quite well. It never got stupid-sweet and always kept a grown-up edge to it, even with the root beer note. But it never fully crossed over into “classic” territory – it’s very much a modern composition.

    If you like candied vanillas that manage to avoid being too sweet, Orchidée Vanille might be perfect for you. While it doesn’t smell like either of the two, I think it has some of the same mass-appeal-meets-luxe vibe as Balmain’s Amber Gris or Estee Lauder’s Amber Ylang Ylang, so if you like that sort of sweet-but-smart-but-slightly-mainstream vibe, you’d probably enjoy this.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Yesterday, I spent the day in Muguet Blanc.



    There’s a specific “floral accord” mix of notes (rose, ylang ylang, and muguet) that’s so synonymous with the basic idea of perfume and that’s so common that it took me years to even be able to recognize it as anything other than “generic white flowers”. From Old Spice to pretty much any chypre or fruity floral, everyone uses this mixture. To this day, I’m very lucky if I can actually discern the specific ingredients. Muguet Blanc plays around with this mix. It’s actually quite interesting to smell this mix without it being buried in the heart of a chypre or smothered in powder, like it so often is.

    Instead, Muguet Blanc plays up the Muguet a bit (actually, it’s that Cis-3 Hexenol note that everyone uses for lily). This can be dangerous. That Cis-3 note can smell an awful lot more like a soap or cleaning product aromachemical than like part of a proper perfume. Most perfumes try to fancy it up with melon or cucumber and play up its aquatic green nature. Thankfully, Muguet Blanc plays up its floral aspects, and makes the whole thing just a pinch dirty with some pepper and indoles.

    It ended up with a base of sweet green resins (probably labdanum). This is actually quite a clever mix – I’m surprised more perfumes don’t do this. It keeps the “round, green” feeling going without dumbing things down. It also hints at a chypre base with the later addition of a pinch of vetiver.

    So, all in all, I think Muguet Blanc may qualify as a lily scent for people who don’t like lily scents, because it doesn’t resort to any of the aquatic clichés so common to the genre. Or, if you simply have a soft spot for a green floral chypre (albeit modernized), Muguet Blanc might make a great sample to try.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Based only on paper at the store, my personal pick as my favorite of the Collection Extraordinaire was my Saturday test, the one by Mark Buxton, Cologne Noire.



    I can’t help it – I’m a sucker for very upfront black pepper over woods. A pinch of some sort of sweet citrus came and went (justifying the “cologne” in the name), but the real star was the bright black pepper.

    Unfortunately, things went south for me when the heart ended up being that metallic “woody amber” note. Things picked up again when the base turned out to be a dusty cedar note, but the damage was done.

    My unwillingness to humor “woody amber” is well documented here already, but I actually kind of enjoyed Cologne Noire. For the less snobby people here who enjoy a good woody amber as well as a good peppery woody niche scent (Redneck & JockWithScents spring to mind), you may well really really enjoy Cologne Noire.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    For a Sunday dinner party, I wore Gardénia Pétale.



    This actually turned out to be my favorite of the Collection Extraordinaire. Much like Orchidee Vanille, it skillfully rode the line between mass-appeal and luxe niche weirdness. The weirdness was supplied by the gardenia itself. Not having an odor until they start to rot, gardenias are a pretty challenging scent, smelling nothing like flowers and more like stinky cheese mixed with indoles. Gardénia Pétale actually does include the indolic cheese smells, but somehow manages to offset it with traditional floral elements, including a pinch of tuberose and jasmine, as well as more modern feminine perfume elements, like that sort of ubiquitous citrusy/vanilla/amber/wood basenote that pretty much all the women’s designer scents use nowadays.

    Somehow, though, they made it work. I wasn’t offended by the mass-market elements or turned off by the weird ingredients. If you’re looking for a heavy, scary monster of a gardenia scent, this isn’t it (try Jar’s Jardenia for that), but it you enjoy a challenging gardenia note when properly tempered with other pleasant ingredients, Gardénia Pétale may be perfect for you.


    Only one left - I'll report back tomorrow, hopefully!
    Last edited by rogalal; 11th August 2010 at 06:17 AM.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    I'd just like to add that I have come around big time on ELDO Fat Electrician. Upon first test many months ago I hated it, and have since been too afraid to retry it. But another recent 180 for me in Givenchy Vetyver has taught me to enjoy the particular vetiver accord that I feel both Fat Electrician and GV share in common, that being a slightly sweet and nutty interpretation of a normally unsweetened note. I'm really enjoying my sampling of FE tonight.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    You're doing a great job, rogalal! Thanks!

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Thanks for the nice words, Larimar. I always wonder if anyone ever reads my long-ass posts.

    MTG, I just bought a sample of Dior Homme Sport from scented monkey. I don't have high hopes for anything with Sport in the name, but that's the only flanker they had available. As a side note, this was the first time I'd checked out their sample program. There's no niche or anything, but they have samples of pretty much any mass market thing you can name, even some really hard to find ones...
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    Thanks for the nice words, Larimar. I always wonder if anyone ever reads my long-ass posts.
    I do , Rogalal ......I look forward to your review posts!
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  24. #24

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Definitely, I do, rogalal! I like to read about other experiences and impressions. I somehow acquire an ability to use their judgement (whether I share their tastes or not) to draw conclusions on my own possible likings (with regard to e.g. blind buying). I owe people like you here a great deal of my wonderful fragrant experiences! Keep going! *bigthumbsup*

  25. #25

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    I received a sample of PdN Balle de Match yesterday.

    A really impressive scent, with a truly realistic grapefruit opening. It's the only supposed grapefruit scent that I've ever smelled which doesn't smell like something the cat left behind. I'm particularly looking at you, Czech and Speake Citrus Paradisi. (Or should that be Citrus Catapissi??).
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Thanks for being so nice, everybody!

    I'm a little slow to react here, but I'm curious about that Bamboo frag Ciprian listed above. I'm a little scared of the marine notes, but "bamboo" and "cotton flower" with jasmine and amber??? I can barely imagine jasmine and amber together, much less with marine ingredients and weird woods...

    Anyway, today was the last of the Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire, Lys Carmin.



    This was a bit of a letdown, a pretty standard fruity floral based around a sort of apple/cassis mix, made creamy by a nondescript base of vanilla and sandalwood. Its big selling point was pink pepper on the top and a tiny pinch of lily in the background, but all that really did was make it smell peppery for a few minutes while the lily just made the apple feel a bit more "green".

    In Lys Carmin's defence, it never got stupid-sweet or marshmallowy. It certainly didn't smell bad, just a little uninspired.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010



    I did a quick review of this before and completely trashed it. At the time I was hyperosmic to the teak note in any scent that featured it, and it is featured here prominently.

    Now that my chemical sensitivities seem to have fully subsided, I need to reevaluate a number of fragrances, and Lacoste Challenge is one of them.

    Normally I dissect scents by breaking them down into the notes I perceive and how they interact and come and go and generally end up with a rather technical write up, but I'm not going to do that here. Not much, anyhow. Recently I picked up some real frankincense at a really nice new age store, and - not having picked up a proper incense burner yet - rigged up a little aluminum foil 'bowl' that got placed onto a light bulb and put the frankincense in there. The heat from the lamp was sufficient to get the frankincense to start to melt and even smoke ever so slightly, and the scent was a glorious resinous lemon that had just a hint of a pleasant throat tickling sharpness to it. I'm not sure if the frankincense will smell different when burned in a proper burner, but all the same the smell was extremely pleasant, soothing, and yet very vibrant and alive.

    There I stood, looking rather foolish I assume, my nose held carefully just a few inches above the light bulb, taking in the glorious aroma, and suddenly I had that thought come to me that all of us BNers know so well, "Wait! I've smelled this before. But.. where?"

    I pondered it for a bit and suddenly it hit me that Lacoste Challenge smelled this way for the brief few moments before I was overwhelmed with the teak accord. Curious, I fetched the sample and put on the tiniest of swipes, in fear of the big bad teak monster, and found that the scent was not nearly as vile as I remembered. Actually, it was rather pleasant. And there it was, clear as day, the connection to the frankincense.

    The lemon and ginger along with the teak (if you aren't hyperosmic to it, which I thankfully no longer am) combine in such a way to make a sharp, resinous lemony aroma that tickles my throat in the same way that the frankincense smoke did. The profile of the lemon/spice/resin accord is so close to the accord created by the melting frankincense that it's uncanny. Challenge is fairly linear and doesn't project well, but neither did the frankincense with my rather lackluster burning rig.

    If you aren't familiar with the smell of frankincense burning/melting as such, I could easily see the sharp elements of this scent being seen as grating or synthetic (and it does read as synthetic to me in the sense that I can't think of any natural material that maintains a sharp/rough quality to it for as long as this note persists, and yet it reads as natural in the sense that it smells so close to the melting frankincense). If you are familiar with a good quality lemon frankincense though, I think this scent does an excellent job of capturing that scent.

    As I said, the scent is fairly linear, doesn't project so well, and can register as a bit synthetic in "feel", but I find all of those drawbacks are offset by how well it captures that lemony aroma of good frankincense. I previously had it rated at 1 star due to my inability to deal with the teak, but now that my hyperosmia has faded, I'm going to give this 3.5 stars. Not because it's groundbreaking or composed of amazingly high quality materials - it is neither - but simply because of its ability to recreate that frankincense burning/melting experience for me.
    Last edited by SculptureOfSoul; 12th August 2010 at 09:26 AM.
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Today I’ve been wearing Underworld by Soivohlé.



    This is interesting. It’s a natural perfume based on balsams. To be honest, if I hadn’t recently begun sniffing the essential oils at my local shop, I’d be completely baffled by Underworld. It smells like a mix of galbanum (the real thing, not the green chemical smell in so many perfumes) and balsams (either tolu or peru, or maybe both – I have no idea) and oakmoss tincture.

    In real terms, it’s almost impossible to describe Underworld in terms of comparing it to other scents or common notes – it really doesn’t smell like anything else out there and its upfront notes are really uncommon. It smells green and very, very, very dark. But there’s an element of sweetness that’s almost fruity, but is an aspect of the balsams, not an individual note. If I had to describe it symbolically, it’s like if you had green paint and orange paint meeting in the middle and mixing to create brown.

    The first few hours were unquestionably dark, with things lightening up and getting sweeter as the day went on (I find myself enjoying Underworld more as the day goes on and the sunshine finally makes its way in). Despite these balsams in question coming from trees, they don’t smell woody, though, by late in the day, they have a fresh brightness that hints at pine, but never really smells like it. They’re closest to smelling real myrrh or real ambergris, but with a distinct sort of shellacked-dirt element instead of anything animalic.

    There’s a recognizable pinch of dill on the top, which thankfully never gets pickle-ish and fades quickly. There’s also vetiver in here. In fact, most people describe Underworld as a vetiver scent, which I think is quite misleading, as the vetiver stays in the background – the balsams are always the stars of the show.

    According to the notes, there are also flowers and leather in here, but I never smelled them.

    So who would I recommend Underworld to? I’m not sure. If you’re only interested in it as a vetiver, don’t bother, but if you’re interested in exploring a dark world of moss, decaying earth, and wounded trees oozing fragrant saps, you should really pick up a sample. Or if you just feel like you’re stuck in that sampling rut where everything is starting to smell the same and need a hit of something truly different, don’t be afraid to give it a try.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    [QUOTE=rogalal;1904152]Thanks for being so nice, everybody!

    I'm a little slow to react here, but I'm curious about that Bamboo frag Ciprian listed above. I'm a little scared of the marine notes, but "bamboo" and "cotton flower" with jasmine and amber??? I can barely imagine jasmine and amber together, much less with marine ingredients and weird woods...


    Well,I think you shouldn't be scared about those marine notes.Even it sounds weird, that list of notes ,I think they are all mixed very well together.If you have the chance to test it ,please do,I really like it.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Ciprian View Post
    If you have the chance to test it ,please do,I really like it.
    It's on my list now... Thanks for bringing it up.

    Today, for the coordinated Hermés Friday, I’m wearing Kelly Calèche.



    Technically, I have the EDP on my left arm and the EDT on my right, to do a comparison, thanks to two samples from a nice BNer who insisted that they're quite different. He was quite right.

    Both versions started off the same from the vials, bright fruity berries, a pleasant smell that lasted all of a couple of minutes before drying down to a very light leather scent.

    The main theme of Kelly Calèche seems to be this sweet, fruity, floral leather. The EDT is less sweet and more herbal. I can clearly smell basil and got a tiny pinch of cumin early on. The rest is rounded out with a sort of leafy smell that ends up as a salty vetiver that hides behind the leather for a while before eventually emerging as the focus of the scent. Later in the day, that subtle tomato leaf note that Ellena loves pairing with grapefruit and cumin starts to peek through. As a whole, the EDT is actually quite masculine on me, getting even more so as the day goes on.

    The EDP is sweeter and more feminine and keeps the fruity quality for a bit longer. I get less spice (and no vetiver or leaves), but there seems to be a minty, almost mentholated note adding a brightness to the first few hours of the EDP that the EDT lacks. In the end, the floral notes are much more the focus of the EDP (especially as the day progresses), while the EDT is much more focused on the interplay between the green spices and the leather.

    By the end of the day, both formulations are sweet, with the EDP being a sort of rosey sweet, while the EDT is more of a sweet, green, peppery, resinous galbanum.

    The morning silage was primarily the fruity leather smell, though I couldn’t tell which formulation was causing it, of course. By the time the two formulations really diverged, it was a few hours in, which was late enough that I didn’t get much silage any more.

    It’s nice to smell a leather scent that isn’t all heavy and paired with overly-bright violets (sorry, Cuir de Russie fans) or old-fashioned white flowers. Instead, Kelly Calèche is actually quite subtle and effusive. There’s really not that much to smell on skin, but it maintains a polite silage cloud nonetheless. It’s also nice to smell a Jean-Claude Ellena that doesn’t just recycle his 4 or 5 favorite notes like he always seems to do now (seriously J.C., it’s time to lay off the grapefruit/cumin/Iso E Super/green pepper for a while…).

    To be honest though, I’m having trouble getting really excited about Kelly Calèche. It’s nicely done, but its “thin” quality just isn’t pushing my buttons. It lacks the richness that I enjoy from finer scents, relying more on quiet understated prettiness (in the case of the EDP) or the light pairing of greens and leather (in the EDT) than the luxurious concentration I expect from an expensive perfume. It’s not minimal in terms of the number of notes (there’s a lot going on here and everything keeps developing nicely, especially in the spicy green EDT), but it does what it does very quietly, even though it does throw some silage around.

    In terms of recommendations for others, I think it could be a really good option as a summery take on leather, or as a leather scent for people who don’t like leather scents. The EDT could also pass as an interesting "garrigue" spicy-herbs scent with leather.

    As for the EDP versus the EDT, go with the EDP if you want it more rounded and sweet and feminine, and the EDT if you prefer something more dry and herbal and masculine. Next to each other, the EDP’s sweetness feels more pleasurable than the EDT’s dry greens, but the vetiver playing against the leather in the EDT is actually more what I’m into and I keep finding my nose drawn more towards it as the day progresses. Maybe I need a good strong wearing of the EDT alone (with a much heavier application) to fully appreciate Kelly Calèche
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  31. #31

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Larimar View Post
    Hermèssence - Osmanthe Yunnan
    I was eager to try this since Luca Turin rated it a 5 star fragrance. I do have a 5 % osmanthus solution at home and honestly, I could only for a short while detect a faint idea of osmanthus in this. A fresh, fruity opening that I am not even tempted to think about its notes. After 15 minutes Osmanthe Yunnan is a mere skin scent. I have come to the conclusion that Jean-Claude Ellena is not my parfumeur at all, sorry, 'eau-de-toiletteur'. Are you willing to pay 170 Euros for 100 ml of a watery vanishing Eau de Toilette Hermèssence fragrance like this?
    I couldn't have put it more succinctly. Not only do I have some 5% osmanthus, but also grow 2 varieties. Osmanthe Yunnan is a weak disappointment.
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  32. #32

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    My samples have arrived. Please bear in mind that I am still new to the perfume world. =)

    Musc Ravageur - this to me smells like MKK + Shalimar. The top note is similar to MKK but MR
    is cleaner which makes it more wearable. The dry down has similarities with Shalimar.
    Almost got this blind buy but good thing I tried a sample first. It's nice but
    I wouldn't get a full bottle.

    Vetiver Oriental by Serge Lutens - vetiver + tobacco + leather with a touch of candy on top
    (maybe that's the chocolate i'm smelling). Slightly medicinal vetiver on top.
    But really nice!

    Jicky EDC - I laughed (not in a judging way) when I first smelled Jicky.
    The top note smells poo or bad breath or something. I guess that's the civet talking.
    After 15 minutes the funny top note disappears in to a mellow lavender. The dry down
    is actually very good. Ironic enough, it starts off dirty but ends very clean like a hotel soap.

    Borneo 1834 - bitter cocoa at the beginning. This one shares that smell of dirth from the earth of patchouli
    like with Coromandel. The camphor is there but just very little. A lot of people compare this
    with Coromandel because of the chocolate and patchouli aspect of both frags but I would
    still go for Coromandel. Borneo is like a very woody version of Coromandel. By the way
    in terms of smell, they are not the same.

    Furmerie Turque - has a similar opening with Shalimar, that burnt vanillic quality. The honey here is
    quite stong. This smells very exotic. Very oriental. Interesting!

    Bois de Violette - this one smells so gorgeous! It's very complex that all notes are well balanced. The longer
    it cooks on my skin, the stronger it smells. I love it!

    Gris Clair - this is a very interesting lavender scent. It's not the lavender that you smell when you go to a
    spa. It's like smelling the lavender plant itself . I can't stop sniffing my hand! A winner for me.

    Idole by Lubin - very boosy! it's very hard to describe this one. rum, smoke, leather, sugar cane are quite
    predominant. It sounds odd but it smells really good! I really like this one. Very interesting!
    Wishlist!

    Apres L'ondee - top not is very floral. And then it dries down to a powdery floral. Really pleasant and
    gorgeous. As Turin said in his book, one of the 20 greatest perfume of all time.

    Out of all these samples, I enjoyed very much Vetiver Oriental, Bois De Violette, Gris Clair, Idole and Apres L'ondee. Where can I get these 5? hahahaha. Someday they will be part of my wardrobe.
    Last edited by volley2; 16th August 2010 at 03:22 PM.

  33. #33

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Hi volley2,
    Nice collection of samples! Have you given Musc Ravageur a full wearing? I wasn't impressed first either, but when I gave it a full wearing and spent the whole day walking around in Vienna I thought "Boy, it must be me... I smell so damn good!"
    With regard to Coromandel and Borneo 1834 - you might want to consider a sample of Noir Patchouli by Histoires de Parfums, if you don't know it by now. This would be my pick (and will be - it's on my to-buy list) - a bit more daring and I get quite some dark rose out of the rose-patchouli combo, which I absolutely like.
    Just my two thoughts.

  34. #34

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Hi Larimar,
    Nope I did not give it a full wear. Oopps. hihi =) Thank you for the tip. Will try it again. I have a decent amount of samples of those frags.

    I am in Shanghai, not very good choices here believe me. I'll have to find ways to get that Noir Patchouli. But I really do love Coromandel. Let's see. =)

  35. #35

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by volley2 View Post
    Out of all these samples, I enjoyed very much Vetiver Oriental, Bois De Violette, Gris Clair, Idole and Apres L'ondee. Where can I get these 5? hahahaha. Someday they will be part of my wardrobe.
    Let me know when you decide to make that trip to HK - Gris Clair & Apres L'Ondee are both at Harvey Nicks.

    Idole is really something isn't it?

  36. #36

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Mr. Reasonable,

    My friend is going to HK this weekend. He's getting me the bottle of Jub XXV that I have reserved. And he is going to get some bottles for himself as well. Can you actually get Idole in HK? Where?

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Thanks for adding to the thread, Volley2. You really got some deep-end niche there. I still can't quite love Musc Ravageur, but I respect it. That being said, the couple of times I've test-worn it, I've never failed to get positive comments from random people. There's something about it that women just think is sexy. I can't explain it.

    And I've never even been able to bring myself to apply Jicky to my skin, thanks to that upfront poo smell, so cheers to you for sticking it out!

    Catching up, a lazy Saturday home alone called for something I wouldn’t wear to work, so I decided on Jean Patou 1000.



    My sample actually turned out to be a vintage carded EDT sample, copyright 1989 (thanks Rei Rein!). That being said, the oakmoss bans went into effect in 1990, so I’d assume that the 1989 release was actually the less-oakmoss reformulation and not the true vintage. But the markings on it say that it’s still owned by Patou Parfums, so at least it’s before Proctor & Gamble got a hold of it and dumbed it down…

    1000 is very much a classic feminine chypre, built around those mixed “white floral” notes. Theoretically, it features osmanthus, but any osmanthus in there is buried within the standard rose/ylang/muguet “floral accord”, which is, in turn, buried beneath a sort of shellac-smelling aldehyde and tons of powder.

    What sets 1000 apart from other powdery classic florals seems to be its darkness. There’s a discernable clary sage note in there, which goes a long way to give a green-hued moodiness to the whole proceedings. This green hue continues into the base, via galbanum and the chypre base.

    The first half an hour or so of 1000 was pure bliss. The interplay between the aldehydic flowers and the sage was just beautiful. Sadly, once the powder took over, it pretty much lost me. The chypre base was pleasant, as they usually are, but it wasn’t enough to win me back, but I don’t have a high tolerance for powdery old-school classics. However, if they’re what you like, 1000 should probably be required sniffing. I can totally see why this is so highly regarded.

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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Yesterday, I wore Nasomatto Absinth.



    I'm even more confused now that I've given this a wearing than I was sniffing it on paper. At the store on paper, it smelled sweet and kind of like apples over some weird herbs. On my skin, the apple was gone, leaving a completely baffling mix of herbs and greens that was weirdly sweet and kind of creamy, but not in a vanilla way. I couldn't name a single familiar note. Reviews speak of vanilla and vetiver, but I'd be really disappointed if I tried Absinth looking for a vetiver scent or a gourmand. And I'd be even more disappointed if I tried it expecting something that smelled like absinth.

    All that being said, it smelled really good. My confusion kept my nose glued to my arm, hoping to figure out if I thought it was brilliant or just crazy.

    In the end, I decided it was too weird, largely thanks to a really strange off-note. You know how some ingredients (like cassis or rosemary or even grapefruit) can have a really dark, pissy undertone? Well, Absinth had something going on with that. And it had cumin - not the sweaty kind Ellena loves to use, but the kind that smells like fried food (I think it's orange cumin as opposed to black cumin, but I'm not sure). Well, the fried food cumin mixed with the dark pissy undertone and combined to form something that smelled like a mix of onions cooking and awful onion breath. While this onion note was buried underneath the pleasant weirdness that made up 95% of Absinth, it was one of those instances where, once I had smelled it, I just couldn't ignore it.

    But, for the more cumin-friendly people out there, especially those with a taste for the unusual (perhaps for fans of Lubin's Idole), I'd still suggest a sampling. Hopefully, the onion issue had more to do with my skin chemistry than the perfume itself. Or maybe, it'll be that little pinch of strangeness that others might find endearing...
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Today, I'm wearing Diptyque Vetyverio.



    Wow. On paper at the store, Vetyverio smelled like a citrus-heavy, lightly soapy vetiver. On my skin, however, it's not very citric, not at all powdery, and actually quite rough.

    I'm tempted to say that I think there's actually more rose geranium in here than vetiver. The vetiver on top played up against the licorice-like aspect of the geranium (with possibly some birch tar in there too - I always think it smells like dark, smoky licorice), while the heart and base have focused more on geranium's rosey green leafy qualities (even going so far as to add some extra rose to play it up). The vetiver is always there, but it's the changing qualitites of the geranium note that carry Vetyverio, to my nose.

    Also of note, the whole affair is also unexpectedly sweet. I suppose this is the citrus (which only really stood out for the first few minutes before becoming more of a sweetener than a distinct smell).

    To compare and contrast with other vetivers, Vetyverio seems to be closest to Encre Noir, mostly because they both feature rose geranium, but Vetyverio has that sweetness, while EN is dark and smoky and way more woody. Also, EN is very polished, albeit in a vetiver sort of way (and I don't think vetiver can ever really be that polished), while Vetyverio is brash and almost amateurish (not in a bad way, but in the way that Nasomatto scents can be loud and rough, but still smell well-put-together). The vetiver in Vetyverio isn't the super-astringent, medicinal kind like Malle's. And it's not the traditional bright, Guerlain-esque 60's paired-with-lemon kind either. It's way darker and also way sweeter. It also has very little in common with Tom Ford's fresh Grey Vetiver - Vetyverio may be sweet, but it's not "fresh". I can't help but compare it to the new L'Artisan Vetiver, which is also sweet. But L'Artisan has that specific sweet red berry note, while Vetyverio is more of an undefined sweetness. And the L'Artisan has the feel of an expensive perfume put together by a really good nose, while Vetyverio smells more like a good-smelling happy accident than something obsessively planned, note by note for constant interesting change the way really fine perfumes are made.
    If that sounds like a put-down, it's not. Vetyverio is just a whole different animal - a macho, swagerring vetiver (kind of like MPG's) paired very roughly with sweet, dark, and floral elements that sound like they should suck some of the testosterone out if it, but they don't.

    So, if you like the idea of a sweet vetiver that's still got balls, I think Vetyverio might be the perfect match.
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  40. #40

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Honore Des Pres Love Coco , amazing strikingly different coconut , corriander and vanilla mash up . I love it

  41. #41
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    A couple of nights ago, I wore Lanvin Arpège.

    Perhaps Arpège has been brutally reformulated into a shadow of its former glory. I don’t know, but the sample I got is kind of lame. From a purely functional standpoint, the topnotes were really loud, while the heart was very weak, and any basenotes were completely undetectable. The whole experience lasted around 2 hours and was so bafflingly incomplete that I reapplied and had the same thing repeat itself.

    The topnotes were that typical old-school feminine soapy floral smell, topped with very very powdery aldehydes. While this is pretty normal for scents of its age, most that I’ve tried have thrown in some iris or oriental notes or chypre ingredients to flesh it out. All Arpège did was add some really synthetic berries. So the overall effect was really loud powdery soap mixed with plasticky strawberry soda.

    The heart was more of that berry soda smell, mixed with some incoming sweet resins. Then, where I’d expect a chypre base, there was nothing.

    I’m not one to trash classics for smelling old-fashioned (hey, that’s part of their charm – If you don’t like old scents, why bother reviewing them), but I just don’t really get the appeal here. Other classics do what Arpège does much better. Meh. For something that does basically what Arpège was trying to do, but really well, the vintage Houbigant Quelques Fleurs l’Original I recently sampled was a hundred times better, with its grape/aldehyde mix.
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Last night, just for fun, I wore some Frankincense essential oil, just to get a better idea of what it specifically smelled like.

    Apparently, frankincense comes from the Boswellia tree, either the Boswellia Sacre (if it’s from the middle east) or Boswellia Carterii (if it’s from Africa). My little vial is the Carterii kind.



    From what I read, if you make a cut in the tree, it oozes white sap, which crusts over into little rocks of frankincense, which are then somehow steam distilled to make frankincense essential oil, which is also called olibanum.


    So how does it smell? It smells awesome! It’s woody, very much the coniferous kind, with just a hint of that hamster cage cedar. In a way, it smells like walking into a room with a Christmas tree in it. But it’s not just woody – it’s also very sweet and creamy. VERY sweet and creamy. It’s not barren or dry or arid – instead it’s like if you could make a sweet custard pudding out of wood. It has a smoky aspect, too. Had I sniffed this blind, I would have thought it had Iso E Super in it as well as a pinch of pine. I’m actually quite shocked at the depth of character this has.

    Frankincense is clearly responsible for a lot of my favorite scents. It dominates Heeley’s Cardinal and is the foundation for most of those Duchoufour incense scents, from Avignon to Jubilation XXV.

    Worn alone, the frankincense oil actually got kind of cloying after a while. It smells great, but all that creamy sweetness needs to be tempered with something to make it palatable over the course of a day. It didn’t change with time, like some of the essential oils I’ve tried, which can sometimes have their own top and base notes. Instead, it had a long life – I can see how this forms a basenote in scents.
    Last edited by rogalal; 20th August 2010 at 01:06 AM.
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Today I’m wearing Susanne Lang Tamboti Wood.

    Oddly, this is about 1/3 of L’Artisan’s Fou d’Absynthe. If you know FdA, imagine that sour green woody topnote, but minus the boozy alcohol smell. Throw in a tiny pinch of cedar to compliment the woody aspects (but not the full-on pine of FdA), and then leave the vetiver in plain sight (not obscured by the anise and weird funky herbs like it is in FdA), but made more green and sour by that topnote (which apparently is the tamboti wood that this is named after). That’s pretty much it.

    If I had smelled this before Fou d’Absynthe, I’d probably have really loved it, but as it is, I think FdA is a better-constructed, more detailed fragrance, so I’d just stick with that.

    That being said, if you like the woody aspect of FdA but not the boozy quality, or if the slightly sweaty undertones of FdA scare you, Tamboti Wood may make a good substitution. Oh, and it’s half the price, too, if that’s a deciding factor.



    Yesterday, I sampled another Susanne Lang, Red Ginger.

    I’ve been falling in love with a cheap Chinese ginger soap, so that had me in the mood for a nice ginger frag. Sadly, Red Ginger was a pretty big disappointment. It kicked off with bright ginger, as expected, paired with cassis-heavy red fruit. The ginger faded almost immediately and was replaced by (*insert disappointed sigh here*) super-sweet marshmallow vanilla. Doh. It’s a fruity floral. The immature little girl marshmallow kind.

    In Red Ginger’s defense, there was a pinch of powdery soap in there, too, making it a little less cloying, and it dried down to a weak chocolaty smell. But it would have made more sense as a Britney Spears scent or as some kind of Disney princess perfume than as a Luckyscent niche.

    Don’t bother.
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  44. #44

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    After resniffing Escentric 01 I realized that Lacoste Challenge, which I reviewed above, has a super huge dose of iso e super. I'd surmise that it's 50% or more IES (comparing it to scents like TdH, Encre Noire, Light Blue, etc that all have huge doses of IES) - so if anyone is a big IES fan (I don't mind it - the note that sometimes bothers me in TdH is something else) and is looking for a spicy lemon/ginger/frankincense scent that smells cheap in the way that IES smells cheap, Lacoste Challenge is worth a shot.

    While i do enjoy it, I'd rather wear Navegar for my fresh/sporty incense fix, or Jubilation 25 (womens) for a more rounded, elegant take on frankincense smoke.
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    The top was a mix of iris with smooky cedar (the forest-smelling kind, not the hamster kind) and a blast of Iso E Super. It was remarkably dry. I've grown used to iris mixed with vanilla or creamy sandalwood, so I think of it as a creamy note, but Bois d'Iris left it completely dusty and dry. It meshed together with the cedar so efficiently that it ended up smelling almost like a whole new kind of super-dry blond wood.
    Have wore this one couple times and the first impression was matte and subtle from this fragrance. The salty note makes it a bit difference apart from other iris-woody combo offerings on the market i think. Like it but not love it, and sometimes it kind of remind me a bit of pencil shaving somehow.

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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by CX827 View Post
    Have wore this one couple times and the first impression was matte and subtle from this fragrance. The salty note makes it a bit difference apart from other iris-woody combo offerings on the market i think. Like it but not love it, and sometimes it kind of remind me a bit of pencil shaving somehow.
    I missed the salty note, but then again, I always think it's my skin when something smells salty...

    Today, I’m wearing Sonoma Scent Studios Fireside Intense.



    This is a pretty obscure comparison, but the topnotes of Fireside Intense are remarkably similar to the smell of Diptyque’s legendary Fou de Bois candle.

    It’s basically a mix of oud and birch tar. According to the Sonoma Scent Studios website (which has a lot of interesting details about her scents), if you heavily dilute birch tar, you get the smell of smoky woods (as opposed to the leather smell you get with less dilution).

    As the day has gone by, the oud has faded down and gotten much more creamy, to the point where it smells almost like incense. According to the website, this is actually a trick done using a wood called Nagarmotha, which smells like smoky incense. The whole mix has gotten sweeter as the day has gone by, but without losing its smoky wood edge.

    It’s been 7 hours now and I’m still getting definite silage, but without the scent itself being overpowering or awkwardly loud.

    For comparison’s sake, this sort of smoky leathery wood scent is usually a favorite of mine. It kind of reminds me of By Kilian’s Pure Oud, but Pure Oud dries down to a green forest floor kind of smell after its smoky leather and oud, while Fireside Intense is quite sweet and creamy by the basenotes.

    I need to try this again when the weather cools down. In the summer heat, I’m enjoying the smell, but I feel a bit silly walking around smelling like this.
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Yesterday evening, I wore Byredo Fantastic Man.



    This is a strange one. It’s almost as if someone tried to recreate a classic 80’s mens spicy chypre, but using only the dark, astringent ingredients, instead of all of them.

    Your typical 80’s masculine formula is going to have lemon and bergamot on top, with some lavender to make it dirtier, and most likely some basil and juniper berry and maybe even some anise to balance the bright citrus with some spicy darkness. Then, in the heart, you usually get a balance between some subtle flowers and some spicy woods, usually with some verbena to extend the citric brightness, leading to the masculine chypre base of galbanum, moss, vetiver, and patchouli. Now, imagine stripping out anything that’s not dark. So get rid of the lemon and the verbena, leave out the flowers, and drop anything that would balance out the remaining notes. That’s the main point of Fantastic Man.

    You’ve got a strikingly non-bright, dirty lavender, as well as that angry 80’s basil and juniper berry, playing over a really dank version of the chypre base. Oddly, they added a bright orange note on the top, but it doesn’t balance anything out, so much so that it feels like a slightly awkward afterthought or a form of perfume irony. If they had brightened this with some vetiver or played the spicy darkness against some creamy incense or something, I think I would have enjoyed it more. As is, it’s interesting, but only if you #1, enjoy classic masculine archetypes enough to want to smell what you’d get when they’re experimentally tweaked, and #2, have an appetite for the truly dank, dark side of perfumery.
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  48. #48

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010



    Tea Rose by Perfumer's Workshop

    I have smelled a lot of rose fragrance but this one really stands out. It's a true, beautiful, alive and fresh smelling rose. I've been crazy about classic perfumes. Fragrances nowadays (for women) smell quite synthetic and a lot of them are just like cotton candy, strawberry etc. I don't know how to describe classic fragrances but I just love them. Classic perfumes just reek with elegance and class, and this is one of them.

    For all the rose lovers out there, you must check this out!

  49. #49
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Today I’m wearing the sort-of-new Hermès Voyage d’Hermès.



    Most of the reviews I’ve read online of Voyage d’Hermès have said basically the same thing – if you’re a fan of Jean Claude Ellena, you’ll probably enjoy this. If not, this probably won’t win you over.

    Voyage d’Hermès kicks off with Ellena’s signature dirty grapefruit. It’s more upfront here than in Terre d’Hermès, but not as juicy and inviting as Eau de Pamplemousse Rose. It’s quickly joined by vetiver, which lasts on while the grapefruit fades pretty quickly. The vetiver morphs into a sort of dirty green smell that smells like some sort of herb, but that I can’t place. This all reminds me of TdH, but what you’d get if you took the Iso E Super and the metallic flint out of it. Instead, Voyage dries down to a heart that smells kind of like salty clay, or maybe hot rocks. Finally, by the mid-afternoon, I’m left with a sort of chemical sweet rose/resin smell that’s been humming along the whole time, coloring everything.

    Apparently, Hermès isn’t releasing the notes to Voyage, because it’s supposed to smell like memories or ideas instead of specific things. Ellena actually does a good job of pulling this off. While it has lots of elements that are familiar if you know his previous work, they seem weirdly non-specific and don’t smell like they do in other scents – it’s much more of an abstract piece. For instance, the vetiver is more of a familiar green dirtiness than the specific smell of vetiver. And I have no idea what in the world makes that clay/rock smell.

    So, all told, Voyage d’Hermès is sort of an abstract mash-up of Terre d’Hermès and Eau de Pamplemousse Rose, but done in a very watery way. It still has silage and is detectable, but has a watery lightness that can either be refreshing and modern, or kind of disappointing and thin, depending on your mood and the weather. If you like Ellena’s textbook creations (you know, the ones that basically re-invent Declaration over and over again), you’ve probably already hunted down a sample of Voyage. If you’re not a fan, don’t bother.
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  50. #50

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Parfums de Nicolai New York. Is it just me or is this quite similar to Pierre Cardin PH, but with a smother vibe? Whatever, it's great. Dammit, I see another bottle buy in the near future....

  51. #51

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    HYLE by Farmacia SS Annunziata. Listed as Lemon, bergamot, myrtle, lavender, ginger, ozone, musk notes, juniper wood, patchouli.
    It smells very similar to Brezza di Mare by i Profumi di Firenze on my skin, quite pleasant, but is it as good as Brezza or Erolfa from Creed - decision time I think as I like all 3.

  52. #52

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    [QUOTE=Ciprian;1905408]
    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    Thanks for being so nice, everybody!

    I'm a little slow to react here, but I'm curious about that Bamboo frag Ciprian listed above. I'm a little scared of the marine notes, but "bamboo" and "cotton flower" with jasmine and amber??? I can barely imagine jasmine and amber together, much less with marine ingredients and weird woods...


    Well,I think you shouldn't be scared about those marine notes.Even it sounds weird, that list of notes ,I think they are all mixed very well together.If you have the chance to test it ,please do,I really like it.

    Bamboo from spanish designer Adolfo Dominguez is a medium-low cost fragance here in Spain. It smells good, it's nice and soft. Some people around here say that it's quite similar to Armani Code. I think they have similarities but are far from being copies.

    At the beginning it's very confortable, but don't expect too much sillage or longevity after some time. Anyway it's cheap and much better that similarly priced scents as the "Antonio Banderas Line". 18 euros for 60 ml. Not a bad deal.

    Adolfo Dominguez Vetiver and Agua Fresca, you should try them both.

  53. #53

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010




    Vol De Nuit - almost has the similar opening to Jicky. But this is definitely way better. A really
    gorgeous classic. It has that powdery smell quite common to Guerlains.

    Cuir Beluga - the leather here is a bit toned down. The leather is of that creamy soft powdery
    leather. My favorite of the L'Art et la Matière range.

    Spiritueuse Double Vanille - for some reason, this one is quite similar to Cuir Beluga only this
    is spicier, more "bright" than of Beluga. Close to the skin scent

    Cologne du 68 - this one has that similarity with L'instant Guerlain Pour Homme. For a cologne, this is
    quite good. A sophisticated cologne.

    All in all, I am impressed with all these four. WIll be good addition to everyone's wardrobe.
    Last edited by volley2; 23rd August 2010 at 01:59 AM.

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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by volley2 View Post
    Cologne du 68 - this one has that similarity with L'instant Guerlain Pour Homme. For a cologne, this is quite good. A sophisticated cologne.
    Woo Hoo! I'm not the only one who thinks they're similar. To me, 68 is L'Instant pour Homme with all the empty spaces filled in. It's one of my favorites.

    Today I'm wearing Abyad Al Amber oil from Abdul Samad Al Qurashi.



    When I got this in a trade, I thought it would be pure ambergris tincture and was shocked when it didn't smell anything like what I knew ambergris to be. Thankfully, a quick trip to the Abdul Samad Al Qurashi website explained: "When Amber added to Agarwood Oli, some herbs & wild flowers it gives you a fancy blend to provide you with freshness & energy. That is what you will absolutely find at Abdul Samad AlQurashi showrooms." So it turns out that it's an oud blend that includes ambergris, which makes a lot more sense...

    Abyad Al Amber kicks off with tea tree oil, in all its bright, mentholated glory. Soon, the top of the oud pokes its way through. If you're familiar with Montale Aouds, you'll know its medicinal facet, that way that oud can smell like moldy medicine and plasticky Band-Aids. In the topnotes, only those medicinal elements of the amber manage to show through the tea tree oil, so it blends to create something that mostly smells like Vick Vap-O-Rub.

    Given more time, the wood notes start to take center stage, creating an effect similar to mentholated pine with a touch of that medicinal oud still poking through. It gets softer as the hours go by, and it eventually loses the bright mentholated feel as the tea tree finally fades away and the creamier, slightly animalic base of the oud comes through.

    The base of Abyad Al Amber reminds me of the drydown of the cedar oil I've tried, which ends up smelling like moist forest dirt. But there's a hint of ocean air in there too, which I'm assuming is the ambergris finally making an appearance. This stage is beautiful. If you've ever driven through or hiked in the coastal woods of Northern California, where the redwoods or the coastal cypress meet the intoxicating smell of the ocean, you no doubt know that it's one of the best smells in the world. This is the closest I've ever come to smelling that magic in a perfume. That being said, there's the problem of the topnotes. The base is really weak compared to the top, so I'd have to put on enormous amounts of this (which would result in nuclear Vap-O-Rub silage) in order to fully enjoy the basenotes, which I don't think is worth it.

    To avoid disappointment, I'd say to skip it if you're looking for ambergris - that's not the focus at all. Instead, if you enjoy dark medicinal smells mixing with trees, you may love Abyad Al Amber. And if you have a deep abiding love for Vicks Vap-O-Rub, this may be your grail...
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Yesterday morning, I wore Dirt by Demeter Fragrance Library.



    I was expecting Dirt to be that moist forest dirt smell that I enjoy in cedar/vetiver frags, but it was actually the smell of plain, common dirt. Like when you were a kid and dug in dirt - it's that smell, and it's not anything I've smelled in a perfume before.

    Oddly, it kicks off with a really heavy alcohol note, like sniffing rubbing alcohol or vodka. It takes a few minutes for that to mostly burn off and for Dirt to start smelling like dirt. The true-to-life dirt smell lasts about a half an hour, before it fades to a sort of herbal green alcohol smell. It doesn't literally smell like gin or absinth, but it has that same aura of liquor based on a dark green herb. It's also kind of sweet and really quite pleasant, if a bit weak.

    The whole experience only lasts a couple of hours. I honestly think it would be fun to have a little bottle of this around for evenings or random times when you just want to smell something interesting for a little while. Then I could douse myself in it and really walk around in a cloud of it. Oh, and if I didn't specifically say, the dirt smell actually smells really good, even if you'd think it would be gross.

    I'm not sure if I'd call this required sampling, but I'd still strongly recommend giving it a test run, just for fun. You'll probably enjoy it.
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Yesterday afternoon, after Dirt wore off, I put on Creed Royal Water.



    This has to have been the most horrible of the modern citrusy Creeds that I've tried. At their best, modern Creeds can deftly ride the line between bright, refreshing, natural citrus fruit smells and aquatic, brightening synthetics, somehow getting the mix just right. Instead of doing this, Royal Water just reeks of that faux-citrus aromachemical that smells like Tang. I swear, that chemical is responsible for almost every citrus frag that I hate. Creed is usually better than this.

    I was waiting for the fake citrus to finally die down so I could at least enjoy the textbook Creed ambergris base, but alas, the whole thing faded so much that I couldn't even really smell anything by the time the base came through.

    Officially, Royal Water was put out to commemorate Princess Diana and is supposed to be the smell of diamonds. Whatever . To me, it's the sickly orange glow of sodium vapor lamps in an industrial parking lot expressed as a fragrance, but I'm sure there's someone out there that will appreciate it.

    If you're a hardcore collector and you need a bottle of Royal Water to complete your collection, at least the bottle is cool. And if you're a fan of synthetic citruses (like Frederic Malle's Outrageous) you may actually love the sweet chemical orange glow that Royal Water creates. But if you're looking for a sparkling, distinctive citrus, or even if you're searching for your signature Creed, you'd probably be better off looking elsewhere.
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  57. #57

    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Mona Di Orio day here for me ... New Nombres impressions in the lady section but also trying Nuit Noir ...

    Oh my goodness where do I begin , Im somewhere between horrified , intrigued and in love with it . First off its the biggest civet bombshell I have ever tried , it makes MKK seem shy and reserved . Then a tonne of tuberose and jasmine . Its so dense and complex , this need a lot more time

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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Pour_Monsieur View Post
    First off its the biggest civet bombshell I have ever tried , it makes MKK seem shy and reserved . Then a tonne of tuberose and jasmine . Its so dense and complex , this need a lot more time
    Note to self: Remove Nuit Noir from test list...

    Thanks for the warning.

    Today, I'm doing a side-by-side comparison of Geurlain L'Instant Pour Homme and L'Instant Pour Homme Extreme.

    VS.

    Both variations kicked off with the signature of L'Instant, a green, herbal mix of crushed fennel seed and that pollen note made famous by Chamade. There's also a papery tobacco leaf note in there that becomes stronger in the heart.

    The original is mostly about these green notes. It's not too bright, but it still has an uplifting feeling. There's a tiny pinch of powder in there - not enough that it smells old-school, but just enough that it smells like a composed fragrance and not just herbs.

    Extreme has this same basic mix, but adds a cocoa note. It doesn't smell like chocolate that you'd eat - it's that dry cocoa bean perfume note, which is kind of dark and herbal as opposed to smelling like food. Over the life of the fragrance, the main theme is mostly the interplay between the dry, dark cocoa and the tobacco leaf. In the top, where things are sweeter, it almost smells like cream soda, but that doesn't last (thankfully) and the green notes make sure it never smells gourmand.

    Simultaneously, the original stays brighter and the green notes remain the focus for quite a while, until some woody notes in the heart make everything a bit darker. But, on the whole, the original is always brighter and more green, while Extreme is darker and more brooding.

    Both versions end up with a Guerlinade base, a nice vanilla mixed with herbs and residual woods in the original, while Extreme's Guerlinade is more peppery and has the cocoa in it.

    I personally preferred the original over Extreme. It stayed equally strong until the basenotes hit, at which point, Extreme was definitely stronger. I liked the interesting green pollen notes with the wood more than the chocolate/tobacco, but I'm pretty amazed that they managed to make a chocolate scent that smells this mature and well-thought-out. I can see how so many people prefer it, too.

    In the end, though, I still think Cologne du 68 is the best of these three. It has the same fennel seed/pollen/tobacco over a better Guerlinade, with more present woods and spices, as well as a boozy undercurrent and some bready orris root that makes for a much more "full" experience that manages to hit pretty much everything Guerlain is best at. It's weird, L'Instant feels like a complete perfume until you try 68, when you realize that more meat on its bones really does help. But that's just my opinion - either of these are worth a test, but just do me a favor and don't pick up either of these until you've tested 68...
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  59. #59
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Pour_Monsieur View Post
    but also trying Nuit Noir ...

    Oh my goodness where do I begin , Im somewhere between horrified , intrigued and in love with it . First off its the biggest civet bombshell I have ever tried , it makes MKK seem shy and reserved . Then a tonne of tuberose and jasmine . Its so dense and complex , this need a lot more time

    I absolutely love this fragrance!
    Please feel free to check out my Swap Thread - Patou pour Homme, L'Instant de Guerlain PH Extreme, Dior Homme Intense, Pure Malt, Pure Coffee and many more! Click Here For My Swap Thread

  60. #60
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    Default Re: Samples Of The Day - August 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    In the end, though, I still think Cologne du 68 is the best of these three. It has the same fennel seed/pollen/tobacco over a better Guerlinade, with more present woods and spices, as well as a boozy undercurrent and some bready orris root that makes for a much more "full" experience that manages to hit pretty much everything Guerlain is best at. It's weird, L'Instant feels like a complete perfume until you try 68, when you realize that more meat on its bones really does help. But that's just my opinion - either of these are worth a test, but just do me a favor and don't pick up either of these until you've tested 68...
    I'm glad someone agrees with me on this - this is exactly the way I felt when I got Cologne du 68. It seems it has made my L' Instant Pour Homme Extreme almost obsolete.

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