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  1. #1
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    Default SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Hey all - this is a place to post your thoughts, in detail or not, on whatever you've been sampling or sniffing at stores or otherwise trying. Because the thread on the men's board wasn't strictly for men's scents, we'll try moving it here. Maybe the ladies can join in???
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Yesterday, in honor of S'N'S Amber Saturday, I finally tested Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan.



    I have to admit that I generally don't like ambers unless they're slathered in buttery benzoin or vanilla and spices. So I've avoided Ambre Sultan until now...

    It went on with amber, duh. It was a bit powdery (not as much as L'Artisan's, though, as a comparison) and it had a bit of that medicinal tinge. It was more animalic than most, partly from the amber itself and partly because it clearly had a heady dose of tonka (I find tonka quite animalic when it's combined with amber). As a result, there was a subtle leathery quality to Ambre Sultan, though the main theme was definitely the amber itself. There was also a spicy buzz to the whole thing, like pumpkin pie spices (probably nutmeg, mace, or cinnamon), as well as a creamy wood smell buried under everything. As the day went on, the powdery, perfumey aspects faded as some vanilla came in, leaving a more gourmand amber base.

    I guess I still prefer my amber on training wheels (my favorite is the barely-amber-at-all Ambre Naguille). While Ambre Sultan isn't as relentless as, say, Tom Ford's Amber Absolute, it still requires you to be a pretty serious amber fan in order to enjoy it. Oh, well. More for everybody else...
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Today, for a lazy Sunday around the house, I'm testing L'Artisan Parfumeur L'Eau du Navagateur.



    On paper, this should be a slam dunk. With notes of coffee, spices, woods, and incense, this should be utterly perfect for me. But life has a way of throwing a curve ball every once in a while. Instead of being the woodsy niche scent I was expecting, what I got was L'Artisan's version of a 1982 masculine powerfrag.

    To start off, it's very leathery, in the way that so many 80's masculines have that specific mix of powerhouse patchouli, juniper berry, and dark spices that come together to smell like funky 80's leather. It's also quite sweaty, in a rather specific old-man-smell kind of way (not like an old-fashioned cologne, but like someone's sweaty grandpa). There's also an herbal sweetness that I think is a mace note, which plays quite well with the coffee note. But the real focus is on the sweaty leather.

    A few hours in, I can start to pick out galbanum, which is pretty typical of this style of scents. It brings out the hidden vetiver in the leathery patchouli mix, making the last half of L'Eau du Navagateur something of a sweaty leathery chypre with lingering sweet mace on top. If forced to classify this, I'd put it in the same bin as Havana or C&S's Cuba. Not that it smells like either of them, but that is has that same sort of big masculine classic bone structure paired with unique other notes (but, to be honest, just substitute coffee for the cigar notes in Havana and make it really sweaty and you'll at least have a very rough estimate idea of how Navagateur smells).

    It's a wonder that L'Eau du Navagateur never really gets mentioned here on BN. With the huge intersection of 80's powerfrag lovers and niche aficionados, you'd think that this would be the best of both worlds, or at least something to skillfully bridge the gap between the two. So, if you're a niche fan with a penchant for the artfully ugly side of early 80's scents (Kouros, et al), or a powerfrag fan who's willing to step out of eBay and into Barneys, you should really check this one out.
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Great idea, Rogalal !


    Peace,Love & Juicy Couture
    Notes of Meyer Lemon tree blossom,hyacinth,sweet apple, jasmine, magnolia, honeysuckle,orris, patchouli flower, musks
    Quite an uplifting green floral with a really nice touch of honeysuckle ,hyacinth and lemon. I quite enjoyed this one.



    Memoir Woman by Amouage- gosh - how I love this dark chypre.
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Today, I've been testing another L'Artisan Parfumeur that no one really talks about, L'Eau de L'Artisan.



    So here it is, L'Artisan's (with help from Olivia Giacobetti) entry into the wide world of citrus eau de colognes. As you would expect, it kicked off with orange. There was also a green leafy facet to it that turned out to be just a tiny pinch of mint mixing with fresh, green basil (not the angry 80's kind, but something more like the smell of fresh leaves). Of course, it smelled bright and refreshing (unlike Hermes' Concentree d'Orange Verte with its dark herbal character).

    Of course, the real test of a citrus cologne isn't the topnotes, but how well it handles the inevitable breakdown. Many smell refreshing and juicy in the beginning, but the orange ends up being that awful saccharine Tang smell. Others rely too heavily on petitgrain to extend the citric feel - petitgrain is a wonderful ingredient, but it can smell just awful by itself. Still others use orange blossom, which is another wonderful note, but it can be a loud, shrieking drag queen of an indolic flower (which does have its place, but can feel like a terrible mismatch with a refreshing hot weather citrusy eau).

    Thankfully, L'Eau de L'Artisan didn't fall into any of these traps. Instead, after about an hour, it faded into a quiet soapy neroli smell that sat, barely there, until late in the day, when just a pinch of orange blossom started to peek out from beneath the quiet soap. But really, the basenotes are quite unimportant in a scent like this, which is specifically intended to be re-sprayed repeatedly through the day.

    Whether or not L'Eau is worth testing really depends. Like any other citric eaus, it's pretty pointless as a spray-in-the-morning-and-wear-it-all-day scent. But, if you enjoy a good orange spritz, I'd easily recommend this as much as Chanel's Eau de Cologne or Eau d'Hadrien, and I personally liked the bright freshness of this L'Artisan more than either of the Hermes Eau's.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    That's one of Olivia's works that I've yet to test, Rogalal, but after that write up, I'll be sure to grab a sample of it before next spring! Thanks for the heads up.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    I tested Gem by Van Cleef and Arpels (original formulation) todays. A chypre from 1987.
    Per Fragrantica: The top notes are accords of peach and plum, and spicy-woody accords of cypress, cardamom, coriander and rosewood. Heart notes: tuberose, jasmine, rose, iris and ylang-ylang enriched with a spicy clove is in the heart. The complex base is composed of patchouli, oak moss, amber, civet and vetiver. The perfume was created by Roger Pellegrino in 1987.
    Per Perfume intelligence notes are: a rich woody oriental parfum with top notes of marigold and camomile, heart notes of tuberose, ylang-ylang, sage and cloves, on base notes of cypress, patchouli and vanilla

    quite a difference in the two listings.

    Nice classic perfumery. Could be unisex on a chypre lovin' male
    Last edited by knit at nite; 5th October 2010 at 07:45 AM.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Re: L'Eau de L'Artisan - it might also be worth mentioning at this point just for the intensely curious that this IMO is the definitive 'smell of freshly cut grass' scent - I think it trumps (or at least equals) both Herba Fresca and Eau de Campagne for this.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    Re: L'Eau de L'Artisan - it might also be worth mentioning at this point just for the intensely curious that this IMO is the definitive 'smell of freshly cut grass' scent - I think it trumps (or at least equals) both Herba Fresca and Eau de Campagne for this.
    That's true - I missed it in my review, but there was definitely a point after the orange faded and before the soap took over where L'Eau was very much a green fragrance.

    Today I'm testing another often-ignored L'Artisan Parfumeur scent, last year's Cte d'Amour.



    Cte d'Amour was designed by Celine Ellena, but it smells more like something her father Jean Claude would put out as a Hermssence than anything she's done at The Different Company.

    It kicked off with a very Jean Claude-esque mix of pepper and white florals that reminded me of his Eau de Gentiane Blanche. The pepper burned off pretty quickly as a tropical floral smell took over. It was definitely coconutty, but not in a cheesy way (it was more like a watered down floral version of Creed's Virgin Island Water than like a trashy coconut dessert). There was also a spicy green feel to it, which smelled like the green pepper note J.C. Ellena loves to use, but minus the bell pepper undertones. I could also clearly smell taragon, though it took a good 6 hours before it became prominent enough for me to recognize it. All of this rested on a sort of waxy white floral note that I couldn't place, given a subtle hue of sweet moodiness but just a tiny pinch of syrupy immortelle, hidden in the background.

    I know that really doesn't make sense as much of an explanation of what Cte d'Amour actually smells like, but I think that if you can imagine Jean Claude Ellena doing a minimalist version of Virgin Island Water, you'd be pretty close.

    In terms of minimalism, this is one of those scents that gets it right. While it doesn't do a lot or scream at you with loud florals or chemical smoke, it's still going after 12 hours now and it's been pumping out green, peppery coconut-water sillage all day. It just does it with a quiet confidence that you wouldn't expect to have this type of sillage and longevity.

    So, if you're a fan of Jean Claude Ellena's work, you'd probably appreciate Cte d'Amour, as it's clearly an homage to his style from his talented daughter. And it manages to do that without resorting to any of his repetitive cliches (cumin with grapefruit, etc.) Or, if you're looking for a fun summer scent that incorporates coconut in an intelligent, mature way, this might be a good choice.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    12 hour longevity on an all natural fragrance? Impressive. That's another scent I plan on sampling once the weather warms up!
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    12 hour longevity on an all natural fragrance? Impressive. That's another scent I plan on sampling once the weather warms up!
    I think it's technically organic but pretty certainly not all natural. The ingredient list still has all the usual suspects: Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Citral, Cinnamal, and Benzyl Benzoate...

    I guess these things are refined from plants??
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  12. #12

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Well, Limonene, linalool, citronellol, etc are all components of many natural oils - so you're going to see them listed on basically any fragrance whatsoever, natural or not.

    Benzyl salicylate is found in jasmine and ylang ylang and some others, too. Benzyl Benzoate.. hmm.. a little research says it's the main constituent in tolu balsam. I bet what you are reading as immortelle is in fact tolu balsam, which is somewhat similar in smell..it's a waxy caramel like note.

    So honestly, nothing in that list is a guaranteed synthetic. Also, Ecocert has given their verification that Cote d'Amour is in fact all natural, so I'd say it's safe to assume it really is.
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Re-sampled Opium - I don't know what notes made me detest this a few decades ago, but my reaction was exactly the same as it was back then, Sorry- more for the Opium lovers.

    Also sampled- Bond N Y Coney Island Wearable but mediocre- a nice scent for sleep.
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Today Ive been doing a side by side comparison of LArtisan Parfumer Mre et Musc and Mre et Musc Extreme.
    VS.

    Mre et Musc (the original) behaved much more like a properly-structured perfume. In fact, it turned out to be a fruity leather chypre. It went on with a pinch of blackberry, but paired with green elements. The green elements were strikingly similar to the subtle mix of mint and basil I recognized from the LEau de LArtisan I wore a couple of days ago. The heart was a quiet mix of the berries and the green elements, with a deep suede leather bubbling up underneath over the course of the day while the green elements faded. There was a dark quality to the leather, which I know was a rubbery lapsang souchong tea note (because this was very prominent in the Extreme version though it was quite subtle in the original). By the end of the day, the berries had mostly faded away, but their sweetness was echoed by green galbanum, which led to a proper chypre base, which fit well with the lingering suede.

    I found Mre et Musc quite well-behaved, but it has a litany of terrible reviews here from ladies who find it sour and disgusting. I can see how the herbal topnotes and the smoked-tea suede could be a bit offputting if you were expecting very forward, modern-style fruit, but I think it works quite well if you go in expecting a 70s suede chypre with an interesting pinch of berries in the mix.

    Mre et Musc Extreme, on the other hand, is a bit of a challenge. For the record, its way more than just an EDP version of the original. It has very little discernable progression Instead, it blasts everything at you right from the start. In addition, it really amps up that rubbery tea smell while losing the green herbal components and the chypre base. It also has a peppery quality (especially in the sillage) that I didnt get in the original version. So, basically, it hits you in the face with a mix of blackberry and smoky, peppery, leathery rubber.

    As an aside, being a child of the 80s, I fondly remember Strawberry Shortcake. They were dolls for girls, but they also released little collectable plastic figurines, which my sister collected. The gimmick was that they were scented. I remember making excuses to come into my sisters room and smell them. Which is kind of strange, because they smelled terrible, like a mix of 90% rubber doll smell and 10% berries, but for whatever reason, I found them intoxicating. Mre et Musc Extreme comes remarkably close to recreating that sensation. I have a weird fondness for it, thanks only to nostalgic novelty, but I cant imagine what appeal this would have to most people.

    As the day wore on, Mre et Musc Extreme very slowly found its footing as that rubber note faded enough to the background to function as subtle character, instead of the rather misplaced focus of the scent. By the afternoon, the smell was wonderful, focused on the berries with the suede in the background, but it was a rough ride getting there.

    In the end, I could pretty confidently recommend Mre et Musc (the original) to fans of classic feminine scents with an unusual edge. I can see how it could have been futuristic and groundbreaking in the late 70s, though it makes a bit more sense now as a bridge between classic structures and the niche movement it was setting the groundwork for (I felt the same way about the LEau du Navagateur I just tested, which was from the same era). Mre et Musc Extreme is a bit more of a challenge. If youre completely comfortable with the classic French idea of waiting an hour or two for your perfume to smell good, youd probably appreciate it more than me. Or, if youre such a die-hard aficionado of lapsang souchong tea that you dont have those rubber doll association with that rubbery tea smell, you may just love it.

    Also, theres also a Mre et Musc extrait available (the one in the silly berry-shaped bottle). Has anyone tried it? Where does it fall in terms of these versions?
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  15. #15

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    I love that berry-shaped bottle, however silly it may be...



    As far as I know, the berry bottle is a limited-edition packaging of the original M&M. The extrait version is sold in a smaller (15 mL) bottle and I've never sniffed it. In fact I don't recall trying the extreme, and it's been a couple of years since I sampled the original. I should sniff them side-by-side as you've done!

    (How would you compare M&M extreme with Costume National Scent Intense, another tea-fruit-leather composition?)
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    That berry bottle has always reminded me of those fruit-shaped plastic things full of fruit drink they used to sell with curly straws at amusement parks back in the 80's...

    I'll have to re-sniff Scent Intense. All I clearly remember about it was not liking it. I thought it was an amber?
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  17. #17

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    It is an amber, but a "clean" one (if that makes sense), so potentially its effect might not be so different than the white musk (that I seem to remember) in M&M.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulSC View Post
    I love that berry-shaped bottle, however silly it may be...

    I love that bottle! Too bad Mure Et Musc bores the berries out of me...

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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Sugandaraja View Post
    I love that bottle! Too bad Mure Et Musc bores the berries out of me...
    Same here- I love the bottle- hate Mure Et Musc !
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  20. #20

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    LS Fall Pack just arrived – first impressions:

    MFK Absolue Pour le Soir

    The opening takes me back to schooldays in Wanganui going to the annual “Agricultural & Produce Fair’ – ferris wheel, ghost train, dodg’ems and candyfloss on one side and sheep mustering competitions, livestock exhibits and forklifts and tractors on the other. It’s not the animals so much as the stuff they used to spray around to clean the place and the whole overall vibe . . . ‘barnyard’ will do nicely, but it's more interesting than that to me, and it’s great – it goes to soon, actually - great opening.

    Shortly after there is the Cologne Pour Soir I know and love, just tamed a bit - not so sweet and certainly not as bombastic and then not too long after it has made itself known it seems to warm up and then sit back and just take it easy. I had planned to buy Cologne Pour Soir for winter (probably still will) but this is a more relaxed and subdued take on it with just a subtle touch of musky funk in there . . . I actually find it less in your face than CpS, which I quite like.

    Vero Kern Onda EDP

    I’m speechless, really. There is something in this I can’t put my finger on – it’s like the smell of gasoline or some vaporous fuel that has been spilt and mixed with rain and soaked into old wood and the scent is blowing round an old tumbledown boat yard. Along with that there’s the smell of a really old car my uncle used to drive in the early 60s where petrol fumes had soaked into the leather seats along with a bit of exhaust smoke (I’m not talking Bentley here – the complete other end of the scale).

    And then, hovering behind all this, there is a benign presence that over time comes forward and envelops the whole shebang - there are plants and flowers nearby but out of sight and their scent is rising. Incredibly compelling and somehow, despite the clunky analogies, really sophisticated and elegant – I’m blown away by this one, I think it has a timeless beauty about it.

  21. #21

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    mr. reasonable, that was a lovely description of the feeling of those two fragrances. You really should review more often, I mean that.

  22. #22

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    I hate to follow Rogalal and mr. reasonable, but here goes.

    Tonight I am re-testing Profumum Dolcis in Fundo. I first smelled this at the very start of my perfume journey, and of course, gave it a 5. When a perfume smells so good you want to drink it and dive into a pool of it, that is a 5 rating.

    I just rerated this fragrance to a 4, but really, I still feel the same. There is not complexity here, there is only the juicy orange that segways into a creamy vanilla that then transitions into a true semi-sweet vanilla. Not high art, but I continue to feel how well this accomplishes it's very simple goal. For a citrus semi-gourmand, you would be hard pressed to find a better representative.

    This is the orange of a fresh picked fruit. There is nothing synthetic feeling or smelling to me. The vanilla is creamy then austere, again uncomplicated, but true to it's purpose. It retains a slight orange feel all the way until the final drydown, mixing and mingling. Happy and carefree. And that is exactly what this fragrance does - smell good in a happy and carefree way. There is a place for this, I've no doubt.

    This was from a dab vial, not sprayed. My only fear is that I am unsure if I really would want to smell like this all day. My second fear is that I do, and it is not cheap, and only comes in 100ml bottles.
    Last edited by cello; 8th October 2010 at 02:12 AM.

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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by cello View Post
    mr. reasonable, that was a lovely description of the feeling of those two fragrances. You really should review more often, I mean that.
    Ditto here - it's really great to hear from more people!

    Cello, did the orange and vanilla in Dolcis in Fundo stay separate or did they melt together into a creamsicle? I still dream of finding a citrus vanilla mix that works for me, but my skin sweetens everything and they never quite work out...

    Today, I finally got around to my last untested L'Artisan Parfumeur sample, Th Pour un t.



    I think I could safely call this a jasmine for people who don't like jasmine perfumes.

    It kicked off with a mix of lemon and cumin that reminded me in theory of Jean Claude Ellena's trademark grapefruit/cumin mix, but brighter (because of the lemon instead of the grapefruit, as well as a tiny pinch of mint) and cleaner (because there was way less cumin in Th than in your average Ellena composition). After a few minutes, the jasmine slowly swells up underneath this mix, eventually eclipsing the lemon and making itself at home with the green leafy mint and the subtle cumin. As the day went on, some fruity corander came in under the jasmine, and there was also a noticeable orangey citrus element in there. Because this happened in the afternoon and orange molecules simply can't last that long, I'm assuming it must have been orange blossom, but it combined with the jasmine to form a rather cohesive blend that was more than the sums of its parts.

    Th Pour un t is oddly notable for being quite subtle. Unlike the big jasmine perfumes I'm getting used to smelling, Th always smelled pretty and light and summery, which I can imagine being quite a turn-off for big jasmine fans. Also, as an aside, lemon + cumin does not equal tea according to my math, so I think this may be a bit of a disappointment for fans of tea scents, too. But if you want a pretty, light, breezy floral that's polite and youthful without being dumbed-down, or if you like jasmine but not the big explosive jasmine perfumes that usually feature it, Th Pour un t might be a good fit.
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  24. #24

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Rogalal, there is a period of creamsicle to DiF. The orange is very prominent at first, with a wiff of vanilla. Then they blend into a creamsicle effect, then the vanilla is more prominent with a citrus edge. then soft not too sweet vanilla. So, yes, it is there, but it didn't bother me in the least. But I will say that creamsicles and eskimo pies are my two favorite icecream treats to this day, brought forward from childhood. I don't know, it may be too much for you, but certainly worth a sample if these notes interest you.

    I saw your review of Sushi Imperiale, and there is a similar vibe to this of course. But DiF is much more natural smelling, and SI brings on the spice. I own SI, mostly for the spice effect on top of citrus. Cinnamon in particular, which I love in SI.

  25. #25

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    cello, Rogalal, thanks.

    I'm interested in checking out the Profumum now! The only one I know is Antico Caruso, which I bought. It's a smooth almondy EDP, nice winter comfort scent with a city vibe, I read it as 'barber shop' but that has different connotations to different people.

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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by cello View Post
    mr. reasonable, that was a lovely description of the feeling of those two fragrances. You really should review more often, I mean that.
    Agree
    Overall this is one of my favorite threads and enjoy reading the reviews put a little story to help better understand the whole picture. Excellent

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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Cello, thanks for the Sushi Imperial comparison - that helps a lot...

    I went shopping today and smelled quite a few things. A few stand-outs:

    Nasomatto Nuda: Jasmine on top with something odd - like a plasticky component I couldn't place. Dried down on the card after a couple of hours, it smells like spicy hot peppers, but with a powdery "pinkness". Really interesting, but certainly not "normal."

    Serge Lutens Bas de Soie: Iris. Reminded me of Iris Bleu Gris, with its cheesy undertones, but with the addition of a green leafy element I think may be ivy?

    Amouage Gold: Like a classic feminine aldehyde with a dirty undercurrent, but nowhere near the powdery civet nightmare I was expecting from the reviews.

    Parfums Regence Santal: Another old-world feminine aldehyde marketed to men. Actually quite similar to Gold, based only on the topnotes on paper, but Santal felt darker and lacked some of the creamy depth. I ended up picking up a bottle.

    Parfums Regence Oak Moss: I really don't have the vocabulary to describe this scent. It's lush and green, with a dirty undertone (the same way that patchouli can have a dirt quality to it, though it didn't smell like patchouli). There's also a chemical aldehyde brightness on top. Odd, but mesmerizing, like clay mixed with dirt and soapy grasses and strange warm plastic, but that doesn't even come close to actually describing it. Thank goodness I got a sample, so I can take a proper day to try to figure it out sometime...

    The three new Honore de Pres scents: Vamp a NY smelled like tuberose at first but opened up into a mixed floral. Love Coco was pure Thai food, with coconut, coconut milk, and even Thai purple basil. I Love les Carottes was quite simply the most carroty iris I've ever smelled. They gave me a sample and I have to admit that I'm completely intrigued... Any of these three could pass for Giocabetti L'Artisans - don't let the novelty packaging and the silly names scare you away!

    For my actual pick to wear for the day, I tried on Guerlain Arsene Lupin Dandy from a tester at the boutique.



    It's been quite a while since I've smelled a new Guerlain that so artfully respected and yet completely remixed the Guerlain history. Thankfully, they put away the cherry syrup and the marshmallow fluff, dusted off the old L'Heure Blue/Mitsouko ingredient box, and set about making a really difficult masculine version of them.

    One thing I love about Guerlain at their most full-on is that they have the power to leave me at a complete and utter loss to describe what I'm smelling. They can use such intricate mixes of unusual ingredients that I honestly have no idea what I'm experiencing. With that in mind, I'll do my best to put into words my day in Dandy...

    It started off with really noticeable fennel seed. It was the fennel seed from L'Instant Pour Homme, but mixed with something I couldn't figure out that reminded me of L'Heure Bleue. It wasn't iris or vanilla or whatever makes LHB so doughy - it was more some kind of boozy spice. If you can imagine L'Heure Bleue with the Guerlinade stripped out, leaving just the moody greens and the spice mix, and then replace the iris and dough and vanilla and everything else with a mix of birch tar leather and the butterscotchy benzoin of Bois d'Armenie, you'd be close, but it's still way more nuanced than that.

    As the day has gone by, Dandy has smelled different every time I've smelled my arm. Sometimes, it's boozy butterscotch or a burnt caramel mixing with benzoin. Other times, it's really dirty leather, complete with that old-man sweat smell. Sometimes, these mix with the fennel seed and the boozy herbal element, but sometimes they don't.

    Part of me thinks that the unknown herbal element may actually be a dirty chypre base and it's the galbanum doing something strange with the other elements that's confusing me. There was also a point in the heart where I thought I smelled the boozy Jagermeister accord from Quand Vient La Pluie. Other times, I could smell licorice.

    On a purely intellectual level, I'm finding Arsene Lupin Dandy to be utterly fascinating, but nothing about it is really making my toes curl. I was really expecting a proper Guerlinade base, but there's not vanilla/orris/rum/spices to be had here. I do enjoy interesting leather scents, but the old man funk is a little off-puting (just like it was in the L'Eau du Navagateur I sampled last week). If Guerlains are your thing, you've probably been waiting a while for one to come along like this. Also, in terms of niche scents, there's no reason a woman couldn't wear this. The herbal butterscotchy sweetness is pretty strong, so it shouldn't scare you if you can handle some animalic leather with it.
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Sometimes samples of the day are informative, but not destined for the wardrobe. For instance, I now know that I am NOT a Tim McGraw fanboy. I enjoyed both the original McGraw and the Southern Blend flanker. The first one is a green, boozy gourmand that is very enjoyable (for me) and reminiscent (to me) of some damn good niche. The second is a very pleasant light scent that smells surprisingly natural. I love putting it on after a shave. But the fact that I liked them both bothered me. I was worried that being a frequent fan of Tim McGraw's music might have impaired my olfactory judgment.

    Today, while I was in Target, I found - locked down with wire - a bottle of the new flanker, McGraw Silver. I sprayed the back of one hand. Smelled it as it dried down. Aquatic. Synthetic. Modern. Somewhat milky and creamy, but in a slightly plastic/monomer way. Reminded me of something very mainstream that I could not remember. Did fit the silver image very nicely. Here is the website graphic:



    Here is the website. Here is another review. In the mouse-interactive pyramid, you will find aquatic notes, lavender, sandalwood, and musks. The "white musk" stuff is definitely there, and the creamy sandalwood is reminiscent of Quiksilver, which I love, but I hate to say it's just not as good here. Also some brief moments of Chanel powder, but just a trace, and not very moving. Later, I remembered what it reminded me of - the tail end of the recent Izod fragrance, which starts off with a really amazing fresh citrus accord, but deteriorates later into something a bit creamy, plastic-like, and synthetic.

    My general feeling was that "silver" fragrances like the one Gentleman, Aventus, blah blah blah, are "in" right now, and this was a very standard take on that.

    However, the quality is lacking here, and I know for sure now that I'm not a Tim McGraw fragrance fanboy.

    When I got back to my wife, pushing the cart in the laundry detergent aisle, I walked up to the opposite side of the cart. She immediately had two words, and only two words, in her cute way of dispensing with all unnecessary things like prepositions and verbs....

    "Terrible smell!"

    * * * *

  29. #29

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    Today, while I was in Target, I found -
    Here is the website. Here is another review. In the mouse-interactive pyramid, you will find aquatic notes, lavender, sandalwood, and musks. The "white musk" stuff is definitely there, and the creamy sandalwood is reminiscent of Quiksilver, which I love, but I hate to say it's just not as good here. Also some brief moments of Chanel powder, but just a trace, and not very moving. Later, I remembered what it reminded me of - the tail end of the recent Izod fragrance, which starts off with a really amazing fresh citrus accord, but deteriorates later into something a bit creamy, plastic-like, and synthetic.

    My general feeling was that "silver" fragrances like the one Gentleman, Aventus, blah blah blah, are "in" right now, and this was a very standard take on that.

    However, the quality is lacking here, and I know for sure now that I'm not a Tim McGraw fragrance fanboy.

    When I got back to my wife, pushing the cart in the laundry detergent aisle, I walked up to the opposite side of the cart. She immediately had two words, and only two words, in her cute way of dispensing with all unnecessary things like prepositions and verbs....

    "Terrible smell!"

    Thanks for saving me the pain and suffering of trying this one. It sounds wretched.

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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Yesterday I finally tested Penhaligon's Opus 1870.



    Odd - for a scent named after 1870, this smells very 2000's...

    In terms of basic genre, Opus 1870 is your basic niche woody incense with pepper on top and vetiver in the base. Once the pepper on top burned off, the heart was very thin on my arm, but threw off plenty of smoky wood silage, so I'm assuming this has an extraordinarily high percentage of Iso E Super, which behaves that way. What kept Opus from smelling like any other CDG/Duchaufour incense scent was the inclusion of a subtle berry smell paired with just a tiny pinch of clove. It wasn't as in-your-face as the berries and clove in Jo Malone's Pomegranate Noir, and it wasn't as clove-intensive as CDG's Sequoia. Instead, the red notes stayed in the background, enhancing things instead of taking over.

    As the day progressed, the the scent filled out more as the frankincense came in, which led to a vetiver base.

    All in all, I'm a sucker for scents like this. Seriously, if you mixed up a big vat of cedar, iso e super, frankincense, vetiver, and pepper, I'd probably wear it happily. That being said, this is such a common niche recipe at this point that it really comes down to personal taste which one will best suit you. As for me, my needs are currently being met by Six Scents The Spirit Of Wood, which is this but less sweet and more forest-smelling, as well as 10 Corso Como's dirty Uomo, and the aforementioned Pomegranate Noir, with its loud bullhorn of clovey cedar and incense. Opus 1870 also struck me as the specific kind of niche that Marc Jacobs Bang is trying to recreate. So I don't see a bottle in my future, but Opus 1870 is still very much worth testing if you like these sorts of scents. And, for the Bang fans who may be getting curious about other scents like it, but more nuanced, Opus 1870 would be a great place to start.
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Today I'm wearing my birthday gift to myself, Sisley's legendary Eau de Campagne.



    Man, I love this stuff. Now that I have a full bottle, I've been running around using it as a room spray, too. Those bright green leafy topnotes have never been matched.

    It starts off mostly with tomato leaf, combined with lemon and something weirdly spicy, like maybe cilantro. Just as the tomato leaf threatens to grow into something gross, the woody heart comes in, taming it with hawthorn before the whole thing settles down to the smell of expensive old French soap mixed with galbanum and oakmoss.

    I know that sounds simple, but those leafy green topnotes will live forever as one of perfumery's finest moments, as well as the thing that made Jean Claude Ellena a star. Much like L'Heure Bleue's perfect Guerlinade or Chanel No. 5's champagne aldehydes, this is just one of those examples of perfume perfection that you really just have to try...
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  32. #32
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    It was a busy two days sniffing (or in some cases, re-sniffing). This is a partial list- my nose is fried:
    Womanity Very creative and intruiging creation, but not good on me
    Coromandel Fantastic creation- Very nice on me
    28 La Pausa Fantastic, nice but not as good as Coromandel
    Opium Belle Wonderful on a card, on skin it dried down as HORRIDLY as the original Opium does on my skin
    Badgely Mishka Couture Darker than the original- nice
    A Scent Rescuer
    Every great perfume deserves a good home

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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Today seemed like as good a day as any to jump into a big pile of Caron samples, so I'm kicking it off with Lady Caron (the EDP, for those keeping track).



    Lady Caron kicked off with a sweet fruity smell. It's one of those sweet fruity candy smells that's not a specific realistic fruit, but more like a tutti fruity candy smell. It's pared with baby powder, as well as quiet jasmine. There's also a forward white floral note that I didn't recognize, but the reviews all say magnolia, so that must be it. The whole thing has a sweet creamy quality to it that's really hard to describe, but it certainly feels older than it is (this came out in 2000).

    The remarkable thing about Lady Caron is that, despite the fact that it is, by definition, and candied fruity floral, it never feels stupid or like a cliche. It feels classic, even though it's clearly been redesigned for a new era.

    Despite no one else mentioning it, the heart brought in licorice on my skin. It was the Caron licorice of Eau de Rglisse, so it wasn't really that surprising. The heart was dominated by the slow fade of the magnolia, as the vanilla that sweetened the whole journey finally officially showed up, along with the super-creamy sandalwood. The licorice came and went, leaving the creamy baby powder as the only constant.

    I was really expecting some galbanum and moss to cut the creamy sweetness of the bsaenotes, but they were no where to be found (I guess that's the biggest difference between a 2000 release and a classic release).

    All in all, I liked Lady Caron, but didn't fall in love. The dark licorice element in the heart promised a depth of character that wasn't followed up on. Untempered by the moody, darker chypre elements, it was left much sweeter and candied than felt right, in my own opinion. It still managed to pull it off, and I can see why people like it, but it felt like it left a bit of its promise unfulfilled. In a way, it's too classy to be a fruity floral, but without the weighty chypre structure, it came off as a bit of a lightweight compared to many of its housemates. But it comes close enough that it's probably worth a sniff if you like sweet creamy feminine scents.
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    @R. Perfumisto, beside the fragrance, the McGraw website layout actually quite good. Simple, neat and pretty easy to navigate. (sorry for being off topic)

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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Today I’m test-wearing another Caron, Infini.



    This clearly seems to have been deeply inspired by Chanel No. 5. Yeah, I know that there were so many of these classic aldehydes that comparing them all to No. 5 is kind of a newbie thing to do, but I’m still new at these, so I’m afraid that’s the best I’ll be able to manage.

    Infini kicked off with aldehydes, of course, with a pinch of lemon. They were the kind of aldehydes that smell like champagne, and they mixed well with the lemon to feel quite bright and effervescent. It was powdery, too, but absolutely not even close to as powdery as the No. 5 parfum I tried recently, which kept me in an iron-clad bubble of powder smell (which ended up being the reason I didn’t really like it). Infini felt more balanced, with the powder just one of many facets instead of the forced focus of the scent.

    As time went on, a dark sort of something crept into the background, and eventually made itself known as that suede leather note I know from Creed’s Royal English Leather or Knize 10, but mixed with more prominent iris root. There was also a peachy fruitiness hovering over the suede, tying it together with the lingering champagne note.

    The base ended up being a creamy sandalwood/iris mix that was quite similar to the Chanel No. 5 base, but with lingering peachy champagne instead of No. 5’s famous jasmine. As an aside, there was a continuous sweetness to Infini, which seems to be a Caron trait. Somehow, they always seem to manage to mix the darker, more moody elements of classic French perfumery with a sweetness that makes them feel more evenly balanced.

    I don’t know enough of my history to know how much or how little people link Infini to No. 5, but I actually think it compares favorably, to my nose. I found No. 5’s powdery mega-sillage to be a bit crass (blasphemy, I know…), while Infini’s presence feels much more nuanced, not because it actually is (if anything, they feel equally complex, but in slightly different ways), but because it doesn’t have that powder foghorn overshadowing everything.

    If you’re into feminine classics, I can see no possible reason not to give Infini a try. The one I’m wearing is a new sample, courtesy of the Caron Boutique in NY, though I have to admit I’m not sure if this is the EDP or the perfume (it’s not labeled either way), but I’m assuming it’s the EDP, because they made a rather big show of decanting the extrait samples, and this was premade.
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Today I’m wearing another Caron, Parfum Sacr. My sample is the Eau de Parfum Intense version.



    Actually, I’ve worn this quite a few times now without writing about it, mainly because I just couldn’t figure it out. There’s an awful lot going on here, some of which I like, and some of which I don’t, and it’s taken me this long to even understand what I’m smelling. You’ve got to love the old French houses for being willing to be dense and confusing…

    Right out of the bottle, Parfum Sacr hits you with a huge array of different things. To start with there’s a very obvious blast of black pepper and a smooth note that smells like sandalwood, but with something creamy and lightly animalic lurking beneath it. Then there’s also a patchouli rose combination – the kind like in Feminite du Bois, where the patchouli, rose, and fruit notes combine to smell like rose-flavored jam. And then, just to make it even more confusing, there’s leather. It’s not the normal leather, but more that mixture common to many masculine 80’s frags, where a particularly dirty patchouli mixes with dirty vetiver – in the presence of a tiny pinch of birch tar (which is recognizable thanks to a slight smoky aroma), this all mixes together to smell like dirty leather.

    So there you have it: pepper + smooth creamy animalic sandalwood + fruity jammy rose + leather + a pinch of smoke. The interplay of the very masculine elements with the very feminine jammy rose is simultaneously brilliant and frustrating.

    Given about a half an hour, as it approaches the heart, nothing much changes, except that all these different things somehow cohesively come together into a complex whole that smells basically like spicy, jammy, fruity leather. The next few hours are a long, slow transition as the patchouli fades and woody incense comes in to take its place. Because the patchouli was a component of both the jammy accord and the leathery mix, this changes the whole feel of the scent noticeably, as the fruity rose jam becomes less jammy and the vetiver and birch in the base become less leathery and more woody.

    Then, by the afternoon, the whole thing retreated down to a creamy, lightly powdery strawberry rose. I’m not even sure how that’s chemically possible, but that’s what I smell. If forced, I could describe it as suede-ish, but this is nowhere near the woody chypre I was expecting from the rest of the ingredients (where did the patchouli and vetiver go??). By the evening, a sweet vanilla had crept in and pushed out the last of the rose, leaving something akin to a strawberry milkshake.

    Parfum Sacr clearly owes a debt of gratitude to Feminite du Bois (though it leaves out the aldehydes that make FdB especially feminine), but it also clearly resembles Lorenzo Villaresi’s cult favorite Piper Nigrum, with its mix of black pepper and sandalwood. As complex as Parfum Sacr is, if you can imagine layering these two, with all the strange nuances that would come out, you’d get close to what it actually smells like. It also reminds me of Malle’s Noire Epices, not that it smells the same, but that they both explore the possibilities of patchouli and rose when combined with spices and would likely appeal to the same people.

    To make matters more confusing, Parfum Sacr acts completely different, depending on how much I wear. With a lighter application, like I’d wear to work, all I really smell is the pepper and the leather with some background fruit jam. With a heavier application, all the little details come out, and the rose and patchouli become the stars.

    In a way, I fear that Parfum Sacr’s complexity may be its downfall. It gets a lot of mediocre reviews from ladies who don’t like the smoky pepper and from men who don’t like the jammy rose. And, of course, it’s a Caron, so it’s apparently been reformulated, so there are people who are unhappy that it doesn’t smell the same as they remember. All that being said, I still think Parfum Sacr is definitely worth a test. Anything that makes me work this hard to learn its charms must have something going for it. At no point does it seem complex just for the sake of complexity – instead, it’s clearly trying for a nuanced beauty, and possibly a whole new style of unisex which combines both extremes into one, as opposed to meeting in the middle.
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Catching up, a couple of days ago, I wore Caron Narcisse Noir. It was the current EDP.



    Wow, talk about a disconnect. All the mentions of classic Narcisse Noir that I see define it as a rather filthy civety orange blossom scent. The sample I have is about a million miles away from that. It's not bad, but it's no femme fatale...

    It kicked off with fruit, mostly like thick, syrupy, over-sugared pineapple juice concentrate with orange in the background and a rather distinct grape note. It was really thick and sweet-smelling, like an Italian fruit syrup. Eventually, some of the sweetness ended up being an amber-ish note that basically smelled like those hard little butterscotch candies. Just to keep everything from getting ridiculous, there was a subtle sparkle of aldehydes trying to pick its way through all that syrupy candy, as well as a green note I couldn't possibly place because it was so hidden, but Narcisse Noir was definitely all about fruity candy on me.

    That's mostly it. There was a period a few hours in where it all came together to smell like wonderful fruity honey, and by the afternoon, it had quieted way down to a soft, creamy white floral (maybe this was finally the actual narcissus? It's not a note I know...)

    I feel like I'm making this sound more cheap and childish than it is. Somehow, through some magic of Caron, this fruity butterscotch candy still manages to feel somehow refined. That being said, I couldn't possibly smell any orange blossoms or anything even remotely dirty in the current EDP, so I could see how this could be utter blasphemy to fans of the original. But, taken on its own terms, it's actually quite fun and well done, and I would safely recommend it to someone looking for something sweet and fun, as long as you aren't utterly offended by them releasing this under the classic name...
    Last edited by rogalal; 15th October 2010 at 02:38 AM.
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    Catching up, a couple of days ago, I wore Caron Narcisse Noir. It was the current EDP.
    Wow, talk about a disconnect. All the mentions of classic Narcisse Noir that I see define it as a rather filthy civety orange blossom scent. The sample I have is about a million miles away from that. It's not bad, but it's no femme fatale...
    Neither is the current extrait, which I have a sample of. It's a bit like the current En Avion... nice, but is it earth-shaking? No, just nice! (I don't know either vintage extrait.)

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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Today’s Caron has been Fleurs de Rocaille, the current EDP version.



    Fleurs de Rocaille (not to be confused with Fleur de Rocaille, minus the “s”, which is apparently a very different scent) seems to be another one where what I’m smelling is nothing at all like any of the reviews I’ve read.

    It kicked off with those champagne aldehydes, with just a pinch of dark fruit, but not the effervescent lemon or other fruits I’ve been coming to expect from Caron. It also didn’t seem to be particularly powdery, which is also not what I expected. It was pleasant, but with something dark and dirty (dirty like dirt, not poo or leather) hovering in the background.

    Given time, the champagne faded, leaving a smell very similar to Nag Champa soap, which was clearly responsible for that darkness in the topnotes. As the morning has progressed, some dusty sandalwood (the kind that smells like an Indian store, as opposed to the creamy Tam Dao kind) has crept in under the Nag Champa.

    While this probably sounds kind of simple, there’s an awful lot going on that I’m interpreting as Nag Champa. It’s flowery and dense with fruity resins and deep woods. It’s also soapy and a bit powdery. And I can see how it would play differently on varying people, smelling more floral on some and more powdery on others, which may explain the disparate reviews.

    By the afternoon, the flowers and wood had faded, leaving that resin that smells kind of like galbanum, but fruity instead of green (what is that one?? I know I’ve sniffed it at the essential oil shop). This made for a smooth transition down to a slightly soapy chypre base of mossy galbanum.

    All in all, I enjoyed Fleurs de Rocaille. If you like incense but hate the smoky woody modern niche interpretation and want something that includes it but smells much more classic, this might be perfect for you. Or, if you want a bit of orientalism in your aldehydic floral. Or, if you just like Nag Champa…
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Today I have on Ormande Jayne's Orris Noir. I've never met an iris I didn't like, until now.

    It opens with a blast of bergamot and maybe pepper to spice it up. Then iris slowly moves in, as a lifter or lightener, and offers just a hint of powder. Then slowly drifts into a soft floral (maybe a very blended rose?) over iris, then a soft wood over iris. Iris is never the predominate note, but instead used in the background to lift the other notes and blend them.

    This is a nice fragrance, but I feel it certainly does not stand out in the flood of iris based fragrances on the market. It never veers too rooty or earthy, never veers sweet...it kind of never does much at all very exciting to me, although I acknowledge it as a well constructed fragrance. Also, I don't feel it is very Noir.

    Maybe I was expecting more from the name, but it just didn't deliver much for me, and I LOVE iris fragrances.
    Last edited by cello; 20th October 2010 at 01:32 AM.

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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Catching up, I've been continuing my Caron kick with Royal Bain de Caron.



    Wow - of the hundreds and hundreds of perfumes I've sampled, I have never disliked anything as much as this.

    It's not that Royal Bain de Caron smells like a fart or something. In a way, it's much more personal, like someone violated me by reaching into my brain and my heart and determining an exact smell that would offend me on a deep, personal level.

    So what does it smell like? Well, it kicks off with champagne aldehydes and fruit (which fade away very quickly), paired with a strange chemical note. One reviewer called it a "fuel oil" smell, which is apt, but it has a plasticky element, too. Then, it has a darkness underneath it, which seems to be heavy tonka made lightly poopy by a pinch of civet. For comparison's sake, this poopy tonka reminded me a lot of what you'd get if you took the lemon and most of the lavender out of vintage Pour Un Homme. In a bizarre way, it smelled kind of like a baby's skin (that mix of skin, powder, and a touch of fecundity), but amplified to a level where it felt obscene. If you can imagine the Silence Of The Lambs guy prancing around with bits of someone else's skin on himself, that's the level of almost pornographic violence that Royal Bain de Caron smells like to me. Mix that horrifying poopy skin smell with plasticky fuel oil and, as almost a sick joke, a little pinch of lingering fruitiness, and you apparently have a recipe that hits all the wrong buttons for me.

    Really, this isn't that bad, and I'm sure some people out there actually love this. I can see how this could feel "personal" or "warm and human" in a way that niche "skin scents" never even come close to. But somehow this specific combination of notes just made me uncomfortable and queazy. Yuck. More for everyone else...
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Sounds like it should be named Bane de Rogalal.

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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    I also spent two days trying to figure out the legendary Caron Tabac Blond. I sampled the current extrait.



    Some reviews I've seen compare current Tabac Blond to Creed's Royal English Leather or even Knize Ten. I can see how - there's a specific very old recipe for a leathery suede note that all three share. It's not the dark leather smell you get from birch tar. Instead, it's a beige suede smell that I'm guessing is actually a trick done with iris and fennel seed, but don't quote me on that....

    There's also some champagne aldehydes in the top and a fruity peach note. In a way, it also reminds me of what you'd get it you took the Guerlinade and most of the powder out of L'Heure Bleue and threw in some fruit. I personally think that Royal English Leather smells like a slightly masculinized, less powdery L'Heure Bleue - while Tabac Blond's topnotes remind me of a muted, more sensual (and more fruity) Royal English Leather.

    Soon, the tobacco note comes in. It's that tobacco leaf note that I personally think smells like a brown paper bag - the one most people will know from Le Male. Over the course of the day, the suede mix slowly fades into a base similar to Chanel No. 5's super-creamy vanilla iris sandalwood. But the tobacco keeps going over both stages, providing a constant while the scent evolves.

    I can see how Tabac Blond is so well respected. I've only worn very few scents that have that combination of artistry, classic charm, expensive-smelling ingredients, interesting evolution, historical importance, luxury concentration, and the requisite sillage and longevity. Really, at this point, there have only been a couple of classic Guerlain extraits that have satisfied all of these difficult requirements for me. So, I can easily understand why Tabac Blond is so beloved. Much like Mitsouko, L'Heure Bleue, and Chanel No. 5, I think I get now why Tabac Blond is required sniffing...
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Finally, for the last couple of days, I've been getting to know Caron Farnesiana, the current extrait version.

    [because this is a boutique urn exclusive, I can't find a picture - doh!]

    For something that's often billed as a soliflore, there's an awful lot going on here. On my skin, it kicked off with a sort of wet wood smell that almost smelled like brown tea, mixed with a sweet resinous smell that almost smelled like fruit. Within a few minutes, another note came in that smelled a lot like marzipan while a bit of mint gave a surprising pinch of green to the proceedings. Oddly, the sillage was completely different, surrounding me in a big cloud of ambery baby powder. There was temporarily a light aldehydic presence that mixed with the marzipan to make it almost smell like cream soda (if you've tried Acqua di Parma's disastrous almond scent, you'll know that oversweetened almond can smell an awful lot like cream soda).

    To be honest, I've never smelled a mimosa flower. I only know the note from L'Artisan's Mimosa Pour Moi. If I concentrate really hard, I can almost smell it as a sort of powdery floral element over the pulpy fruity resinous marzipan tea, but it's certainly not the star of the show.

    Over the course of the day, Farnesiana went through many stages. Sometimes, it smelled like amber-laced honey (drool). Other times, it was marzipan and tea (drool even more). At one point, it did magically come together to smell dead-on like a flowering acacia tree (which is what it's named after). The base went from honeyed amber to a dark cinnamon-spiced nut smell.

    All in all, Farnesiana was pretty great. The only drawback was the amber baby powder sillage (which, of course, was blindingly strong because this is an extrait). If it managed to do everything but that, I'd have a clear personal winner here. As such, I'm mostly comfortable recommending it to women who enjoy classic styles and who enjoy some nice powdery sillage with their ever-evolving, interesting scents.
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Today I’m wearing another Caron urn perfume, the extrait of Acaciosa.

    Acaciosa kicked off with sweet, thick pineapple syrup paired with what I can best describe as resinous green plastic. I think it may be a weird trick of galbanum mixing with aldehydes that’s doing this, but it was a bit weird. I expected that this would be one of those old Carons where the first few minutes were awkward, but it made for a fabulous drydown. Oddly, I was quite wrong, as the plastic smell turned out to be the main feature of the scent.

    With time, the plasticky note ended up being very waxy and dark, like someone poured ancient wax over leather soaked in floral perfume. The result was quite odd – if you’ve seen prehistoric bugs trapped in amber, try to imagine 100-year-old flowers and fruits trapped in thick plastic resin, yellowed with age and dusted with baby powder. That’s the mental image I get from Acaciosa.

    Given time, it started to smell like especially waxy honey, but it never lost that weird old plastic smell completely.

    I found Acaciosa a bit mind-bending until I read the review that described it as modernist. Then, it all made sense. I think it could be argued that it’s a relic of a time long ago when plastics seemed futuristic and luxurious. So Acaciosa is essentially dated modernism in the same vein as the concept of hovering cars with huge tailfins and the idea of eating food in pill form. In a way, it’s brilliant, but it makes for challenging sniffing. To my 2010 nose, it smells simultaneously dated (which can be a very good thing in perfumes) and weirdly absurdist and almost campy, with a hearty dose of powder-dusted grossness. Nothing about it resonates with my modern tastes, so I’m not finding it very enjoyable on an aesthetic level, but I am finding it interesting as a sort of a curiosity. But if I were sniffing this blind, with no sense of its history, I’d likely pan it as gross plasticky trash with too much powder. All that being said, I can imagine people with more experience with classic scents finding Acaciosa much more wearable than I did, just because they’d have the olfactory “vocabulary” required for it to make sense.
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  46. #46

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    The drydown of Trussardi Uomo (the one in the black faux-alligator-skin bottle) smells like plastic and honey to me. I wonder if Acaciosa is a similar effect.
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulSC View Post
    The drydown of Trussardi Uomo (the one in the black faux-alligator-skin bottle) smells like plastic and honey to me. I wonder if Acaciosa is a similar effect.
    Maybe (I'm not familiar with it), but I kind of doubt it. The plastic in Acaciosa smells very old-school perfumey, if that even sounds possible. It's not a modern plastic smell (like L'Anarchiste or the rubber in Bulgari Black) at all. As a comparison, if you've smelled essential oils, especially resins, they sometimes have a stage where they smell like plastic, or have a plastic undertone that runs through them. Acaciosa's plastic smells more like the intentional amplification of that sort of plastic quality, or more correctly a layering of ingredients which have a plastic aspect to them in order to bring it out, more than a synthetic that's intended to smell plasticky on its own.
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  48. #48

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    This week I tried Guerlains Gourmand Coquin and was terribly underwhelmed , a lovely bitter chocolate but not lovely enough tgo justify 175 for 75ml but maybe I should have tested it on my skin but always cautious of doing so .

    Also tried New Haarlem from Bond No 9 , I have been convinced I would love this being from Maurice Roucel and a coffee gourmand again I was completely underwhelmed , it was nice enough but that was about it . Silver Factory on the other hand completely wowed me , definatly FBW , secretly I really didnt want to like any Bond No 9 but Silver Factory was amazing !!!!

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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Pour_Monsieur, I do hope you give New Haarlem another try. Only your nose can tell you if you'll actually like it, but it's the evolution of it that I enjoy. On an off day, it can be too patchouli for my taste, but the interplay of the burnt caramel and the coffee never gets too sweet. And just when I think it's threatening to dry down to a sickly sweet gourmand base, it ends up with cedar, which is just genius combined with the remaining burnt caramel and coffee. Yeah, it's Bond - I know. But I really do think it's a great scent...
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Today I've fallen off the Caron bandwagon and run in the opposite direction, with my first sampling of Etat Libre D'Orange Tom Of Finland.



    (LOL at the naughty poster - apparently they actually advertised it like this when it launched in Paris...)

    I have to say that this is probably my favorite of the ELDO's I've tried, which generally tend to be extremely interesting, but rarely to my personal taste.

    It kicked off with a lot going on. If you can, imagine that pipe tobacco shop smell you get in Tobacco Vanille or Back To Black. Technically, it's a really intricate mix of fruits and spices and honey and a ton of other stuff that makes that accord. Well, take out about half of the ingredients, so that you're left with a sort of spicy honeyed fruit smell that sort of implies tobacco without actually smelling like it any more. In short, it's essentially a nuanced, deep, sweet, fruity smell that still manages to smell quite masculine. Now pair that with the that rubber note made famous by Bulgari Black.

    Many reviews here comment on the aldehydes in the topnotes. Don't be scared - they don't smell like Chanel No. 5 - instead, they just make the fruity notes smell more effervescent for a little while, while simultaneously adding a little bit of synthetic dirtiness to the rubber accord.

    The heart is more focused on leather. It's not the smoky birch tar leather you usually get, but the Tom Ford Tuscan Leather-type leather, which is based more on recreating the smells of the chemicals used to process leather (which sounds nasty but is actually much more realistic-smelling). The rubber note feels right at home in this chemical stew, while the lingering masculine fruit notes give it depth.

    By the late afternoon, it had definitely weakened, with the leather and rubber mostly giving way to a nondescript wood smell, paired with a bit of that spiced masculine fruit. By the evening, it had all dried down to a really weak peppery iris, which was so light that it's almost not worth mentioning.

    So here's the thing. I know this sounds kind of awful, but it works. The best comparison I can come up with is Bulgari Black. Aside from the rubber note, they don't smell alike at all, but Bulgari Black has that weird brilliance to it where it smells weird, but it's great and it's practically impossible to stop sniffing it. Tom Of Finland has that same x-factor. It should be gross, but it's just too interesting and it actually smells good. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that if you like Bulgari Black, you'd probably like Tom Of Finland, too, because they share the same quirky appeal. My only real complaint is the lame base, which just isn't strong enough to carry the composition through the whole day, so longevity freaks beware, but I definitely think the top and the heart are interesting enough to merit testing.
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  51. #51
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Sugandaraja View Post
    Sounds like it should be named Bane de Rogalal.
    Too funny!

    Rogalal,
    No FB in your future, I see. RBC was one of the first fumes I ever bought and loved- in the 70's- now I will think of you whenever I apply. How can I not appreciate such a thorough and entertaining review? Indeed as all your sample reviews here are.
    Smoochies
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    Every great perfume deserves a good home

  52. #52
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by knit_at_nite View Post
    RBC was one of the first fumes I ever bought and loved- in the 70's- now I will think of you whenever I apply.
    Ack! Keep it away!!!
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  53. #53

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Thanks Rogalal I will give New Haarlem another try , it has all the elements I usually fall for . Granted I only tried it on a card so will give myself a full on blast next time

  54. #54

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Maurice Roucel made Rochas Man the same time he made New Haarlem, and they're very similar. It's fairly cheap and not hard to find (at least in the US), maybe you can try that one also.

  55. #55

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Oh yeah.

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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    For a dull Saturday at home, I decided to go nuts and finally try Amouage Ubar.



    Ubar pretty much hit with everything all at once. The end result was basically a powdery white floral with a really rich musky soapy undercurrent, but if I tried really hard, I could pick out the elements that made it. There was a nice rose, and some citrus on top. It had that cis-3 hexanol faux-lily smell, as well as a rich soapy musky base that was quite strong right from the top. Between the luxurious base and the real-smelling rose, it did a great job of smelling really expensive. What’s most notable is that everything was blended in almost perfect quantities, where nothing really stood out, but everything was still there. As an example, the civet added to the richness of the blend while never smelling poopy. On the other hand, what felt like a really amazing rose note never truly got to shine.

    My main beef with Ubar was its strength. Above and beyond your average female powerhouse, it blasted out with a concentration that bordered on lunacy. I’m a big fan of luxury concentration, but there’s a point where luxury gets out of hand and becomes a farce (like a solid gold toilet or a separate palace for your cat). Ubar comes dangerously close to this. Its worst sin is that its over-concentration kept it from developing. I was so looking forward to an amazing base mixing that famous Omani frankincense with the luxurious creamy musks, but it just kept billowing out powdery white floral topnotes all day and into the night. As such, I think it could be argued that the composition is technically flawed – weak perfumes suck, but being as strong as possible isn’t necessarily always better. There’s a sweet spot where it’s just perfect, and I’m afraid Ubar overshot it.

    That being said, if you have a love for big, old-fashioned, room-filling white florals, Ubar may just be grail material. But if you don’t like the first five minutes, it’s not going to get any different…
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  57. #57

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Coincidentially, I gave Ubar another wearing today. I like Ubar best and actually am quite fond of it after 3-4 hours +. Funnily, I don't get the monster sillage thing. It is present, but comfortably so on me. The big thrill to me is the deep base, which is really all about ambergris. The overall feel is very vintage to me. I agree about the powdery white florals... there's something I am trying to familiarise or get acquainted with, but somehow I don't manage. I thought it was the muguet. It still leaves me undecided.

  58. #58
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    Larimar, I tend to find that my favorite part of classic-smelling florals are usually the basenotes, that magic point where the flowers are barely holding on and the base is rumbling in, feeling weighty and luxurious. I'll have to re-sample Ubar at some point, because it felt like it was headed somewhere great, but just never got there on me...

    Speaking of classic-smelling florals, yesterday I finally got around to wearing Amouage Gold Man.



    I know this is a horrible over-simplification, but for those not familiar with it, it's basically Chanel No. 5 on steroids, but darker and funkier.

    It kicks off with a truly great aldehyde opening. The aldehydes are sparkly and champagne-smelling and are paired with a bright lemon note that works absolutely perfectly. It's powdery, but not as much as No. 5 or Old Spice, but definitely enough that you're not going to like Gold Man if you don't like powdery frags.

    From the very start, there's a rich creaminess to Gold Man. It's a got that rich iris/sandalwood/soap smell, as well as a pinch of funk - it's not a nasty fart smell or terrible civet baby-poo overload, but it's definitely there, like going into a bathroom with a really good scented candle and a lot of fragrant fancy soaps - you mostly smell that perfumed smell, but there's always just a tiny hint of ugly in the background. There are flowers in there, too, but they're mostly buried between the powder and the creamy soapy base, so they never really felt that important.

    Like I said about this kind of scent above, the money is in the basenotes. The interplay between the lingering flowers, the super-creamy middle, and the mossy chypre elements that come in last is the real highlight of Gold Man (though the opening blast of lemony aldehydes is pretty terrific, too, if you can stand the powder). In a way, it smells like the most expensive fancy soap in the world, if that has any appeal to you.

    In the end, I don't like powdery scents that much, and I can get my aldehydes-over-creamy-expensive-base fix from Malle's ironically-not-as-powdery Iris Poudre. Also, I have an aversion to bathroom smells. Sure, the civet in Gold Man is very hidden, but it was still enough to kind of put me off. But I can definitely recognize the quality here. If you're a man looking for a classic-style floral scent and you're scared to cross over into women's vintage perfumes, or a woman into great aldehydes, Gold Man could be a perfect fit.
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    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    On the polar opposite end of the Amouage spectrum, today I've been wearing their Tribute Attar.



    The whole idea of attars confused me for quite a while, especially given that sometimes perfume companies use the word attar in the names of perfumes that aren't attars (thanks, Serge...). I'm still no expert, but I believe the defining thing is that they're blends of only essential oils, with no alcohol (which I think is because Muslims who observe Halal guidelines aren't supposed to touch alcohol - anyone here want to let me know if I'm getting this all wrong??). Traditionally, they contain oud, and usually rose and sandalwood, while other traditional ingredients are jasmine, natural musks, and incenses. In terms of what they actually smell like, the few I've sniffed have varied from very basic oud/rose combos to incredibly dense, dark, almost indescribably complex stews. Tribute is the complex stew kind.

    With not just attars, but also more Western natural perfumes and essential oil blends, it seems like they progress differently than traditional chemical-based perfumes. Instead of the traditional top, heart, and base notes (which happens through a combination of evaporation and larger molecules taking longer to warm up on skin and become smellable over the course of hours), natural scents seem to hit me right out of the vial with everything they've got, with their progression not happening as elements warm up, but instead only as individual ingredients fade out at different rates, leaving the scent to slowly get lighter and less complex. As such, it doesn't seem accurate or fair to judge or critique them the same way I would a modern chemical perfume.

    Anyway, history and chemistry aside, what did Tribute smell like? Well, it took me a couple of wearings to even get a basic idea what I was smelling. As close as I can describe, it's kind of a leather scent. Not the traditional birch tar leather or Creed/Knize's sueded leather. It's more like the way that some 80's powerhouse scents smell leathery - that way that vetiver, dirty patchouli, galbanum, basil, juniper berry, and other herbs can come together to smell leathery. That's the core of what Tribute smelled like on me, but with a bunch more going on. For one, it's fruity and sweet. But it's not coming from actual fruit notes - instead, it's the fruity sweetness that some resins can have. It's also kind of floral, but not in a literal way. It never really smells like roses or anything - I think they're mostly adding to that fruity sweetness. Finally, it's also very green. I don't know what combination of ingredients is causing it, but it smells an awful lot like lettuce that's going bad. So that's the best description I can come up with: sweet fruity leathery rotting lettuce.

    Also, if I'm making this sound like some sort of niche Middle Eastern take on an 80's masculine scent, it really isn't. Tribute doesn't smell at all like a western powerhouse - I just can't think of a better comparison.

    By the end of the afternoon, it had faded quite a bit, leaving me with what I can best describe as that fruity smell, topped with apple pie spices, with a pinch of vetiver running underneath it.

    To be honest, I don't even know how to critique Tribute. I didn't really like it (sweet leathery lettuce? seriously?), but I think that may be because I don't have the experience to really understand what's going on. Not knowing what even constitutes quality in a scent like this, I can't really attest to that, but I will say that it's one of the only natural scents I've tried that hasn't either smelled plasticky (which is apparently a result of poor essential oil extraction - thanks for explaining that, SOS) or had that weird aquarium smell (seriously, WTF is that??). It did, however, fall into the trap of smelling needlessly complex. This is probably just my American nose, but it had so much going on that I couldn't help but feel that it may have crossed the line between nuanced and garbled. But ask me again in a few years when I've had a chance to get to know more of these before you quote me on that...
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  60. #60

    Default Re: SAMPLES OF THE DAY - October 2010

    As far as I know, Rose attar in India is produced by enriching sandalwood oil gradually with rose oil by multiple destillation, but I assume it is only one meaning of the word. The one from Primavera that I know is still very prominent on the sandalwood to my nose.

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