Perfume Reviews

Reviews by Oriane

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Total Reviews: 100

Dahlia by Bath and Body Works

New for Autumn 2020 is Bath & Body Works Dahlia a borderline floriental/gourmand. Notes include Crisp Pear, Dahlia Petals, and Praline.

Dahlia is a light, sweet fragrance that treads the line between floriental and gourmand pretty well. Ultimately, it turns reasonably gourmand, but there are enough floral notes to cause it to waft back and forth between those two categories. Ultimately, this is a safe, unisex fragrance appropriate to virtually any setting, and as such, it is also a pretty unremarkable fragrance. Although carnation is not a listed note, I think I detect a mild carnation note in it. Perhaps dahlia smells similar to carnation?

The presentation is very visually appealing as it is with most B&BW body sprays. Would I buy it again? Probably not because although it is nice, it is not compelling, and like another B&BW 2020 release, Golden Sunflowers, it smells too similar to some of the B&BW fragrances I already own and have yet to use up. However, I would consider buying it as a gift for someone who likes these notes. More and more, new B&BW fragrances smell like others from their back catalog which is not a good thing for the fragrance collector. B&BW seems to be recycling old fragrances by mildly tweaking the formulas, then renaming and repackaging them. They do not seem to create the kinds of fragrances now that are comparable with some of their truly great fragrances, e.g. Sensual Amber, Black Amethyst, Dark Kiss, Cashmere Glow, and Twilight Woods just to name my top five fragrances from their back catalog. Although, they have created some very nice florals recently including Fresh Gardenia, One in a Million, and a somewhat qualified Rose due to its deep dry down.

I am torn between awarding this fragrance a positive or a neutral rating. There is nothing "bad" about this fragrance per se, so I am awarding a positive rating, but please know this is not an outstanding fragrance.

If you are looking for a nice, enjoyable fragrance for Autumn/Winter, though, Dahlia fits the bill. It is neither too sweet nor too gourmand. Performance is "okay." I think, however, if you used the body lotion or body creme with the body spray, it would be much more effective.

Fragrance: 5/10

Projection: 5/10

Sillage: 5/10

Longevity: 4/10

Presentation: 7/10
10th October, 2020

Champagne Apple & Honey by Bath and Body Works

B&BW released a reformulated version of the same named fragrance in 2019 (the one under which I am posting this review is 2016). The new formula notes are listed as:

Pink Lady Apple, Sparkling Champagne, Jasmine Honey, Autumn Woods.

Looking at the notes, my first thought is does not champagne always sparkle? ;)

In any case, this is another quite pleasant but not especially remarkable body spray from B&BW. So many of their body sprays have begun to smell like one another to my nose that I was half prepared to smell the red berries from A Thousand Wishes here, but there is definitely an apple note right at the top. I do not detect much in the way of either champagne, woods, or jasmine honey, though, which is a shame because I like those notes, especially something that sounds as wonderful as "jasmine honey." Alas, there is no jasmine here and both the honey and the champagne notes are there perhaps only faintly. Neither note really stands out. This fragrance is all about the apple, and it is a juicy, red delicious apple in my opinion. It smells sweet, fresh, and quite festive really.

This fragrance is unisex in my opinion, and it could be worn anywhere without offending anyone other than perhaps those who cannot abide the smell of apples. Projection is a little more than arm's length, and sillage is moderate for the first hour or so. Longevity is average for a body spray.

The presentation is quite appealing with beautiful, rich red and gold colours----rather festive and Christmasy in my opinion. B&BW do strive to make their bottles as visually appealing as possible which I very much appreciate in these days of clone bottles. Their bottles look quite appealing sitting on the vanity even though most serious fragrance collectors/users keep their fragrances out of sight in dark, dry, cool environments.

Overall, I do recommend this fragrance if you like these notes. It is a very nice fragrance for the upcoming holiday season, and I think it would be very refreshing in the hot Summer months as well. Overall, it is a winner for the price point. If only I could detect some jasmine and woody notes in the deep dry down I know I would rate this fragrance as very good indeed.

Please note, my ratings are apples to apples and oranges to oranges comparisons, i.e. 7 points out of 10 awarded to a B&BW or other body spray fragrance is not the same as 7 points awarded to a more expensive EdT or EdP where I would grade much more strictly, and thus 7 points to those EdTs and EdPs would be much harder won.

Fragrance: 7/10
Projection: 6/10
Sillage: 6/10
Longevity: 5/10

Presentation: 8/10
09th October, 2020

Tea Rose Jasmin by Perfumer's Workshop

Top Notes: Lily of the Valley, Rose.

Heart Notes: Jasmine, Tuberose, Cedar.

Base Notes: Amber, Rosewood, Sandalwood.

Wow! Tea Rose Jasmin is an unexpectedly lovely fragrance. I have heard many perfume lovers sing Tea Rose's praises, and whilst I do like Tea Rose, I never thought it was anything very special. It is okay for the price point, but there are other rose fragrances that are much more impressive to my nose, albeit much more expensive, too. Tea Rose Jasmin, however, is very impressive for the price point. This is a beautiful, clean, fresh, delicate jasmine on my skin. I have totally fallen for its charms.

I do not detect any notes other than the jasmine, but that is fine by me because I bought it because it is basically a jasmine soliflore. That was exactly what I wanted from it. The only complaint I have is its performance. Projection and sillage are quite good for the first 1-2 hours, but then it begins to fade to a skin scent, and by the end of the perhaps the 3rd hour, it is barely detectable. However, I use it much like a body spray. I easily use 10 or more sprays, and for a short while, I am bathed in the most lovely, sweet, and enchanting jasmine.

For the price point, this is a very good fragrance, and I do not mind reapplying as needed. I love this one so much that I must stop myself from spraying my linens and the air around me. It is so pleasant that it can be worn anywhere. Wear this in hot weather to feel refreshed and smell great. Wear it in cold weather to remind you of warm Spring days and chilly evenings that will eventually give way to hot Summer, and you will have come full circle.

If you love jasmine as a note, you owe it to yourself to try Tea Rose Jasmin. If you are a little wary of jasmine because it can sometimes be a bit heavy and indolic, you owe it to yourself to try Tea Rose Jasmin because I think it will convert you into a jasmine lover.

This fragrance is suitable for any age and any venue. I find it rather feminine, but men who love jasmine should not overlook this gentle beauty. If it had the performance of vintage YSL Opium, the quality ingredients of Malle Une Rose, the shimmer of Chanel Coromandel, and the classic, eternal elegance of Guerlain L'Heure Bleue (or any classic Guerlain!) , I would award it five stars in every category and deem it signature worthy. It still might be signature worthy for jasmine lovers on a tight budget. I would purchase this fragrance again and again. I have been wearing it for several days in a row now and just cannot seem to tire of it. My ratings, of course, are for comparison to other fragrances in this price range and not for comparison to much more expensive fragrances.

Fragrance: 7/10
Projection: 7/10 for the first couple of hours.
Sillage: 7/10 for the first couple of hours.
Longevity: 5/10

Value for price point: 8/10
01st October, 2020
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Les Elixirs Charnels - Gourmand Coquin by Guerlain

Guerlain really stretched itself on some of its newer compositions in the last few years such as Gourmand Coquin. This fragrance has received so many enthusiastic reviews despite the fact that it is not easily recognisable as a Guerlain that I simply could not ignore it. I admit I had some trepidation in purchasing GC because it is undeniably a gourmand, and I am not a gourmand lover per se. I do love some gourmand fragrances, e.g. B&BW has two gourmands that I adore, Sensual Amber and Cashmere Glow, but I would not classify myself a gourmand devotee. Nevertheless, the notes of dark chocolate, rose, and rum appealed, especially after one well respected reviewer wrote that the rum and chocolate notes smelt like an expensive, not too sweet, cherry liquor, so after a year or longer on my radar, I finally purchased GC. What follows are my first impressions. I will update this review if and whence my impressions change.

Upon application, GC smells quite foodie to my nose---no surprise there. Specifically, it smells rather like dry, crumbly cookies of some sort, which I found quite disappointing. Initially, it could be mistaken for a B&BW body spray which is not at all a good thing at this price point. I do not detect pepper in the top notes. I do not care for the top notes at all I am sorry to say. To my surprise, the heart notes took quite a while to open, but once they did, I liked the fragrance a bit more. The dry cookie aroma continued to project within arm's length around me, but it was slowly dissipating. Unfortunately, as I love the idea of roses and chocolate together, I really could not distinguish any rose or chocolate or tea for that matter. The fragrance still smelt rather foodie to me throughout the duration of the heart notes---again not surprisingly, and I began to think GC was not one of my good blind buys at all even if it had only cost as little as a B&BW body spray.

However, by the deep dry down, the fragrance smelt so much better. The base notes are far less foodie than the top and heart notes. They do smell "edible" but in a much less literal and more more abstract way. I love the deep dry down. I detect dark chocolate and a not sour but not uber sweet cherry note that together are quite appealing. There may be a faint tinge of rose at this point, but I am not sure. My biggest surprise, however, was that the closer is my nose to the fragrance on my skin, the better it smells! I do not find this to be true of all my fragrances by any means. GC smells quite delicious very close up, but I cannot really say what it must smell like to someone within in a couple of feet of me. Perhaps it smells more like dry cookies to someone near me---a wholly unappealing thought. It is as though the perfumer, Christine Nagel, purposely composed the fragrance in such a way as to draw in ever closer the noses around the wearer, and indeed the wearer herself. The scent trail begins with, for want of a better descriptor, dry cookies, and ends with the most delicious chocolatey, boozy, not too sweet cherry liquor. I am not sure I would describe GC as "rascally," the translation for Coquin, as much as demonstrating the type of coquettish flirtation that might come naturally to a quite young woman.

Personally, I would love to detect more rose and far, far less cookie in this fragrance, but I do like it. However, and perhaps I am prejudiced, I do not think it warrants its price point, at least not whence one considers how many masterpieces Guerlain has in its portfolio at a much lower price point. I love so many of Guerlain's incomparable classics as well as some of its newer fragrances, e.g. Encens Mythique and Angelique Noire, both of which I find to be more properly "perfume," that GC perhaps cannot but be something of a disappointment. Please do not misunderstand. The quality is excellent as one would expect from Guerlan, but I question where or not GC fits well with the rest of Guerlain's magnificent stable of fragrances. GC just may be too "young" for my nose, but the house surely must appeal to a wider demographic than just the mature, sophisticated woman and man if it is to remain relevant in the decades to come. Yes, I do like GC. I am not sure if I will come to love it, though.

The best part of this fragrance is the delicious deep dry down, and to Guerlain's credit, that fabulous dry down persists for at least 12-14 hours on my skin, and not many fragrances these days do this. If I could get the dry down right from the start, and if the fragrance had a bit more projection and sillage, I think it might be a love for me from first sniff because the dry down is undoubtedly more sophisticated than the top and heart, but at this price, I am not happy to wait through the so-so top and heart notes to get to the delicious dry down. Longevity is very good, though, and the closer someone comes to the wearer, the more delicious she will smell. Thus, these are both the good and the bad aspects of GC for me personally.

I want to give myself more time with GC in different weather conditions before I reach any final conclusions about it. In my experience, temperature and humidity can dramatically effect any fragrance. For example, Lutens Mandarin Mandarine did not wow me initially whence I wore it indoors. Like many other reviewers, I detected a less than pleasant celery note in it, but whence I walked outdoors into a cold, breezy Winter evening, the fragrance soared around me and smelt so glorious that I could hardly believe it was the same fragrance.

Perhaps GC requires the right occasion or a specific mood for someone such as myself for it to become a love, whereas a much younger woman might feel comfortable reaching for this fragrance daily. Right now, all I can say with any certainly is that time will tell whether or not GC turns into a love for me, and closer is most definitely better. The deep dry down is delicious and smells of quality, but not so much the top and heart notes. At the moment, and I am chagrined to say so, I find GC far better suited to women than to men, and to far young women than to older women. One last thought to share is this. GC would make a lovely Christmas or Valentine's Day gift. On those occasions, I believe it could work for any age group.

Fragrance: 6.5/10

Sillage; 6/10

Projection: 6/10

Longevity: 10/10
03rd December, 2019

Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens

Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake chose not to gild the lily, or in this case the patchouli, in composing Borneo 1834. Instead of a heavy, sweet, gourmand fragrance, which the house certainly can do if so desired, this is more of an intellectual fragrance if I may put it that way. It takes the wearer on a journey back to the olfactory environment of the trade route where the aromas of wonderfully fresh patchouli leafs and cacao permeate the surrounding atmosphere.

I have wanted to try Borneo 1834 for quite some time, and now I finally have done. Why did I wait so long to purchase a bottle? Well, I was a little worried about the camphor note. I also was worried that Borneo might be redundant in my collection since I already own several fragrances with pronounced patchouli and/or chocolate notes, including Chanel Coromandel, Mugler Angel, Guerlain Gourmand Coquin, and the surprisingly effective Avon Extraordinary. I am happy to say now, however, that I need not have worried about either one of these possibilities. Borneo 1834's camphor note does not spoil the fragrance, and Borneo stands quite ably on its own as a rather addictive combination of fresh patchouli and raw cacao that is unlike any of my other fragrances.

Since so many reviewers mention Angel in their reviews of Borneo, I eel the first thing to say is that whilst Angel is quite sweet and a bit fruity, Borneo is neither sweet nor fruity in any way. Some reviewers also mention Coromandel in their reviews of Borneol, so the second thing to say is that whilst Coromandel is a rather elegant, shimmering Chanel-esque creation, Boreno is more naturalistic, more "fresh" in the sense that I smell the patchouli as the leafs must smell whence picked fresh from the plant in the actual spot where they grow. Likewise, the cacao note is fresh but dark, deep, and unsweetened---this is not baker's milk chocolate but a rich, deep, very dark, and slightly dusty, raw chocolate.

I was also a bit worried about the camphor note in Borneo. I feared it might be medicinal in the worst sense of the word and totally ruin the fragrance for me. I am happy to report that it is not medicinal at all. In fact, it exists only as a fresh tinge to the edges of the freshly picked patchouli leafs and smells utterly natural and complimentary, so if like myself you are worried about a nasty, medicinal smell of camphor, or worse--moth balls, please be assured the camphor note in Borneo is a subtle and natural component of the patchouli leafs themselves.

I am sorry to say I cannot detect any white flowers in Borneo as I am a very great lover of white flowers. I also cannot discern any specific spice notes, only the merest hint of spice that seems to be a component of, and emanate from, the patchouli itself, as does the camphor note. However, despite my inability to detect white flowers and/or spices, Borneo is a very appealing fragrance indeed. There is nothing fussy about this fragrance. It is down to earth and earthy. It is fresh and refreshing but not in that artificial way of many after bath products on the market today. I truly can close my eyes, inhale this fragrance, and imagine myself somewhere along the trade route in 1834 with patchouli leafs and cacao all around me. Their natural, unprocessed smells mingle with one another and permeate the air around me.

Despite my reluctance to succumb to marketing copy, Borneo delivers exactly what it promises. It is neither too modern nor too contrived nor too over-worked. It is satisfying. It is simple but not simplistic. Sheldrake has not gilded the patchouli here, and that is all for the best. Borneo is unlike any other patchouli-cacao centric fragrance I have come across thus far on my perfume journey. Sheldrake has created a tour de force illusion that transports the wearer to another time and place far from his own.

Borneo is not a gourmand fragrance in the sense that it smells edible, but it smells edible in the sense that whilst smelling it I can imagine that the beautiful, fresh patchouli and cacao notes MIGHT BE turned into something deliciously edible. In that sense then, the notes are like delicious raw ingredients that I could imagine becoming many different delicious things. If the raw silks that were delivered to European buyers wrapped in patchouli leafs smelt like this, then it is no wonder that the scent awakened a fervent desire for more of it! As a woman, I can easily wear Borneo, but I would love to smell this on the right man. Ooh, la-la!!

Whatever fears or worries you may have about Borneo, I believe you will find they are unfounded. 'Tis true Borneo is a patchouli and cacao centric fragrance, but I find it very naturalistic, not artificially sweet, not medicinal, and not gourmand other than as being composed of notes that smell of possible raw ingredients for something that might become gourmand, much in the way the very best vanilla beans smell of a raw ingredient that will help to make many delicious foods and drinks. If you generally do not like patchouli in any form, then Borneo will not likely capture your fancy, but if you like patchouli and dark, rich, dusty chocolate as notes, then you will very likely enjoy this fragrance as much as I do.

Projection and sillage are soft to moderate. Longevity is average, and it wears fairly close to skin after the first 2-3 hours. If I fast forward to late 1930s Peru, Borneo is the fragrance that I imagine Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones, Jr. is wearing as he searches for the lost Ark of the Covenant. Do not ask me why exactly; it just fits.

I cannot imagine any venue where Borneo would be inappropriate. Only patchouli haters would recoil from this fragrance. I think everyone else would find it interesting and possibly even captivating, as do I.

Borneo is unisex in my opinion, but for those perfume lovers who like a more complex, more "embellished" fragrance, shall we say, they may wish to try Coromandel and/or Angel for their patchouli-cacao fix because Borneo is a no-nonsense, fresh, unadorned, naturalistic patchouli-cacao fragrance---utterly unique and totally niche, and I cannot imagine you will sniff it everywhere you go. This is not an unthinking, crowd pleasing, mass marketed fragrance but a fragrance that transports the wear along more of an intellectual and olfactory journey to a time and place that is wonderful and very far removed from our own.

Fragrance: 8/10

Projection: 5/10

Sillage: 6/10

Longevity: 6/10
27th November, 2019

Mon Parfum Chéri, par Camille by Annick Goutal

The notes in this eau de parfum are supposed to be Iris, Patchouli, Heliotrope, Violet, and Plum. I mainly detect the iris and the patchouli with a tiny hint of violet. I do not detect a plum note, but that could change as the seasons change. Some fragrance notes come to the fore more in either cold or hot or damp or dry windy weather, so I do not consider I know a fragrance very well until I have worn it over the course of a year or so.

This fragrance reminds me of an earlier era in perfume history dating back to 60s and 70s. It is not categorised as a chypre, but it does have a chypre-like quality to it that I cannot unpack easily in words, but my nose detects it.

This fragrance is not at all sweet, and at this point I do not find it fruity, either. It is just a dry, dusty, and quite woody fragrance that seems to belong to a mature, sophisticated woman or man as I feel the fragrance is quite unisex. I have both the eau de toilette and the eau de parfum. I like both of them. It is not a fragrance I would reach for quite often, but I do like it and feel that it is unique in my collection.

If these notes appeal to you, and if you like dry, woody fragrances, chances are you will like this fragrance. If you prefer sweet or fruity fragrances, or if you prefer opulent Orientals, this fragrance probably will not appeal. As always, if possible, sample first.

Overall, this is a good quality, non-synthetic smelling, classical type fragrance I believe is most suitable to someone over 30. Unlike so many bottle these days, the bottles for both the EdT and the EdP are quite attractively feminine and compliment the fragrances inside.

Fragrance: 7/10

Projection: 6/10

Sillage: 6/10

Longevity: 6/10

Bottle: 7.5/10
20th November, 2019

Stradivari by Prince Matchabelli

A Forgotten Beauty From the House of Matchabelli

Top notes: Aldehydes, Calabrian Bergamot, Cloves, Coriander, Cinnamon, Allspice, Bay, Marjoram

Middle notes: Lavender, Basil, Thyme, Frankincense, Carnation, Rose, Myrrh, Jasmine, Orris

Base notes: Oakmoss, Benzoin, East Indian Vetiver, Patchouli, Mysore Sandalwood, Abyssinian Ambergris, Cedar, Tibetan Musk

Released in 1942, Stradivari is one of the forgotten beauties from the House of Matchbelli. It is classified as a spicy Oriental. According to Perfume Fetish's blogspot, the perfume was the first the house released after WWII began, and it was named for the Prince Matchabelli orchestra which was formed that same year. The fragrance was apparently discontinued in 1967.

I own both the cologne parfumee formulation and the extrait. Stradivari could have been one of the precursors to YSL's Opium which was launched in the 1970s. I find it also has definite, deep similarities with Lutens's Amber Sultan from 1993. It is spicy, warm, and animalic. The dry down boasts real oakmoss, sandalwood, ambergris, and musk. It is a beautiful, complex fragrance that was perhaps a little ahead of its time. If you love spices, incense, dark patchouli, sandalwood, and animalic notes, then I can recommend this fragrance most highly.

Stradivari is unisex in my opinion and best worn in the evening and during the cooler months. My numerical ratings are based on my vintage bottles which of course have suffered over the years, but it is clear that the fragrance was lovely. Even my old bottles still smell quite nice. Of the few fragrances I have tried from this house, Stradivari is one of my favourites. It is such a shame it was discontinued. It could hold its own against many niche fragrances of today.

Fragrance: 7.5/10
Projection: 4/10
Sillage: 4/10
Longevity: 5/10
26th October, 2019

Esprit d'Oscar by Oscar de la Renta

Top Notes: Sicilian Lemon, Cedrat

Heart Notes: Egyptian Jasmine, Orange Flower, Tuberose, Parma Violet, Iris

Base Notes: Heliotrope, Musk, Tonka Bean, Vetiver, Amber

This review is for the eau de parfum which is rich, amber colour unlike the eau de toilet which is more yellow in colour.

Armfuls of Purple Flowers Laid on a Warm, Ambery Base

Espirit de Oscar opens with the bright, fresh scent of a juicy lemon just picked from a lemon tree growing in the warm, temperate climate of Sicily and sliced open before your eyes. It is an appetisingly fresh and fruity note that is neither sharp and acrid, or sweetened by honey or sugar or any type. The top notes are refreshing, and they last a surprisingly long while.

After 5-10 minutes, the heart notes slowly begin to open. Now, the fragrance feels as though armfuls of purple flowers have been given me. I mainly detect iris, violet, and already an abundance of slightly doughy heliotrope. In the background, surprisingly, unusually demure are the white florals. This time, the stars are the purple flowers, the dry iris, the gently sweet violet, and the doughy heliotrope.

The heart notes themselves last for quite a long time, and then eventually, finally, roughly one hour into the fragrance, the warm base notes emerge. Heliotrope is still quite prominent in the base, though. Beneath the heliotrope I detect the warmth of amber with shy hints of tonka bean and musk. I do not detect the vetiver here, but that is fine. The warmth of the amber, tonka, and musk make the perfect chorus to the star player---the heliotrope. This fragrance is about purple flowers in general and heliotrope in particular. If you do not like heliotrope, then this fragrance will not likely appeal.

Espirt de Oscar is feminine and soft. Projection is about an arm's length. Sillage is soft but noticeable. Longevity is good. I think this is a fragrance that would work well day or night provided you love heliotrope. The original Oscar will always be my favourite, but Espirit will shower you with sunny, fresh lemon, and then it will surround you with an abundance of purple flowers until finally, you feel are made warm and cozy by the ambery base. It is a lovely perfume, and it is very good value for the price point.

Fragrance: 7/10
Projection: 6.5/10
Sillage: 6.5/10
Longevity: 6.5/10
19th October, 2019

Heure Exquise by Annick Goutal

I cannot add much more to what other reviewers have said about this fragrance already. Heure Exquise is quite simply a drop dead gorgeous fragrance, and if I did not know better, I would be convinced that it is a legendary Guerlain creation. This is classic French perfumery at its finest as I have only known Guerlain to do it, and this is very high praise indeed coming from a Guerlain worshipper.

HE does remind me somewhat of Chamade as others have noted, but it is not at all the same as Chamade. I like HE even more than Chamade. It is more lush than Chamade and has a darker rose note.

I think HE lends itself more readily to evening wear, and it is a bit formal. I fancy it suits a sophisticated, elegant woman of at least 35 or older. I cannot imagine anyone in her 20s wearing this. HE is to Annick Goutal what Shalimar is to Guerlain and No. 5 is to CHANEL---the houses's iconic fragrances.

This exquisite fragrance is both full bottle worthy and back up bottle worthy in my opinion. I have only smelt a few fragrances from Annick Goutal, but HE is by far the most beautiful, the most impressive of those I have tried.

Few fragrances literally have made me swoon, but HE is definitely one that made me swoon not simply upon first application but throughout its excellent unfolding all the way into the deep dry down. I do not wish to gush, but this is one of those fragrances one could believe was created for a goddess.

Fragrance: 10/10
Sillage: 9/10
Projection: 9/10
Longevity: 7/10
16th October, 2019

Chloé Narcisse by Chloé

(I would give this fragrance 4.5 stars if possible, and I definitely would repurchase it if I used up my bottle, and I cannot say that about many of the fragrances in my collection!)

Narcotic Narcisse

I have read many reviews of this fragrance, and the reviews seemed to suggest that it is either a love it or hate it fragrance. I am firmly in the LOVE IT!!! camp after blindly purchasing the EdT, which is as strong as many have suggested. Performance is excellent.

I am unable to pick out all of the notes, but it is sweet, warm, and heady. In short, it is gorgeous and quite addictive. The effect is positively narcotic. I could not be more happy that I added this beauty to my collection.

I feel it is more feminine than unisex. It is more of an evening than a day time fragrance, and more suited to leisure time than to the workday. It is also probably best worn in Autumn and Winter because it is so lush and deep. The scent feels as though it slowly drips like thick, viscous, wild honey made by the bees from the best, most luxurious flowers in existence! I felt it was a fairly safe blind buy for myself, but if you are unsure about the notes, and the reviews worry you, then by all means test before you buy.

Personally, I feel it is one of the most intoxicating, seductive, and utterly delicious fragrances I have smelt in a very long while. Woo-hoo! ;)

Fragrance: 9.5/10
Sillage: 7.5/10
Projection: 7/10
Longevity: 7/10
11th October, 2019

Beloved by Prince Matchabelli

Top Notes: Orange, Calabrian Bergamot, Neroli.

Heart Notes: Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Rose, Honeysuckle.

Base Notes: Chamomile, Patchouli, Mysore Sandalwood, Tibetan Musk, Vanilla, Abyssinian Ambergris, Tobacco, Abyssinian Civet.

Prince Matchabelli fragrances along with Coty, Dana, Houbigant, and a few other brands, were quintessential chemist shop fragrances for which I have always had a gentle fondness. Matchabelli's fragrances were romantic, pretty, and feminine. Both the paper ads and the telly commercials were as romantic as the fragrances with tunes that have stayed with us for decades, e.g. the well known ads for Matchabelli's most enduring and probably best known fragrance of all, Wind Song. I have no idea who composed the tune for Wind Song, but just like the song's lyrics proclaim the perfume unforgettable, I shall never forget the theme song either.

I do not recall if any telly commercials with romantic visuals and unforgettable theme songs were ever made for Beloved, but if none were made for Beloved then it is a pity because Beloved is a beautiful, warm, romantic fragrance.

I managed to secure a partially used bottle of the Cologne Parfumee formulation which may be Matchabelli's equivalent to an eau de toilette. I believe my bottle dates to the early 1970s or perhaps 1960s, and whilst it has not held up as well as I had hoped, it still smells wonderful. I detect more of the heart and base notes than the effervescent citrus top notes. However, the notes that have survived are very well blended so that no one note really stands out as dominant, but there is an undeniably deep warmth in the fragrance, no doubt lent by the civet and musk. Whether or not it has real Mysore sandalwood in the base I cannot say, but the base is very warm and enticing. As I close my eyes and inhale the scent on my wrist, it seems to beckon "come hither...." I can only imagine how breathtaking Beloved was whence it was fresh and new. Wind Song may be the best known Matchabelli fragrance, but I believe Beloved is much more seductive.

My bottle is the clear, femininely curved glass bottle with a gold coloured screw on cap. All at once, the bottle reminds me of a heart, a woman's shoulders, and her voluptuous bosom, and the bottle matches the warm, feminine, and dare I say sexy fragrance inside perfectly. I do not know who was Beloved's creator, but it is the kind of fragrance that I could believe was made by someone like J-P Guerlain.

Beloved is truly a fragrance to love. I fancy it is more a feminine than a unisex fragrance, and I believe it is more appropriate to evening wear than to daytime pursuits. Despite the somewhat faded condition of the fragrance in my bottle, I still find it intoxicating and beguiling. Given the scent, it easily could have been named Romance, but the name Beloved fits this fragrance perfectly. I purchased my bottle blindly, but babies, I have no regrets!

The below scores reflect the condition of the vintage fragrance I purchased. I believe if I had discovered this fragrance freshly made decades ago, my scores would be even higher. My bottle suffers more in the performance category than it does in the fragrance's composition and appeal.

Fragrance: 9/10

Sillage: 4/10

Projection: 4/10

Longevity: 4/10
28th September, 2019 (last edited: 27th September, 2019)

Occur! by Avon

Top Notes: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Cardamom, Coriander.

Heart Notes: Lily of the Valley, Carnation, Gardenia, Rose, Frankincense, Vetiver, Myrrh, Jasmine, Patchouli.

Base Notes: Amber, Leather, Honey, Coconut, Styrax, Moss, Musk, Castoreum, Vanilla, Civet.

I am not really sure how to categorise Occur! given the notes pyramid. It opens with a massive blast of aldehydes underlaid by crisp, green bergamot and hints of spice. I cannot identify cardamon and coriander specifically, though. All I can say is I detect a hint of spice. The top notes linger on my skin for an amazingly long time, but eventually, the floral heart notes begin to open like a bouquet. Again, I cannot really untangle the floral notes they are so well blent. I do detect a smidgeon of pungent incense in the heart. In the deep dry down I mainly perceive leather, moss, and a hint of musk. Sadly, I do not detect the other base notes because I love amber, honey, castoreum and civet. Occur! dryness is unrelieved by any real sweetness from honey, and there are no fruit notes to soften it.

Occur! seems to me to be a perfume of its era: dry, chypre-ish, a bit green, and unsweet. This review is based on my vintage bottle of the cologne mist. It comes in a black rubberised bottle with a faux diamond beneath the exclamation point. I also have the cologne splash which seems to have a bit more leather in it if that is possible. My bottle is very likely from the early 1960s whence the fragrance was first launched, and although the bottle has been well preserved, I am sure it has lost a bit of its oomph over these many long years, although the top notes are amazingly well preserved. I would love to have tried Occur! whence it was first launched. It must have been a real head turner.

Occur! is a fragrance I wear mainly for my own pleasure either at home or sequestered in the stacks at the library or on a quiet stroll through the park on a cool day. I doubt many people who might be around me would be favourably impressed with this fragrance. It does not smell like anything most people would wear today. In its day, it was probably reserved for evening wear due to its several animalic notes. Today, I would not recommend it for either office wear or social wear. I find it a very personal pleasure that most people would not appreciate.

I think the right man could wear this as well as a woman. Despite the many florals, I do not find Occur! to be particularly feminine. It wears pretty close to the skin after the first 30 or so minutes, but as I say, my bottle is quite old. I really wish I could perceive more of those fabulous base notes, and that is really my only complaint about this fragrance. Longevity, projection, and sillage are average.

If you are interested in so-called "old school" fragrances, the type that no one makes anymore (that I am aware), and/or you like dry, chypre-ish fragrances, and/or if leather is a note you wish to explore in more fragrances, and/or you are not put off by aldehydes, then I definitely recommend Occur! to you. If you have a penchant for collecting perfume bottles, this one is quite nice for a fragrance that was very "accessible" in its day. In the 40s, 50s, and 60s, Avon produced some really nice presentations for the price point.

Prices vary, but if you want a nice example of the original style bottle with the rhinestone on the bottle and the bottle in its box, expect to pay as much as $40, $50, or more for it. Occur! is definitely worth a sniff you like aldehydes and leather notes. Again, I would have loved to smell this at the time it was first launched. I must have been quite a beauty.
02nd August, 2019

Magic in the Air by Bath and Body Works

Top Notes: Persimmon, Winter Water Lily, White Iris, Pear Blossom.

Heart Notes: Almond Blossom, Coconut Cream, Jasmine.

Base Notes: Vanilla, Sandalwood, Musk.

Magic in the Air, released in 2016, is a bit of chameleon. It starts off purely floral, but as it develops, it turns into a quite sweet gourmand and loses most of its floral character altogether, which in this case is a good thing for me. Usually, top notes are designed to immediately seduce, but I find the top notes here rather off-putting. It may be the combination of persimmon and water lily that bothers me. I am not really sure, but the top notes seem a bit piercing yet watery to my nose and do not seduce at all. I find myself suffering through them until the heart begins to develop.

Once the top notes disappear, the fragrance begins to take on its gourmand character and becomes much less floral and far more sweet and gooey as it were. Eventually, it settles into a quite sweet gourmand fragrance with pronounced notes of sweet coconut and vanilla. Coconut has always been a difficult note for me, but here its foodie character is tempered by the almond blossom and jasmine just enough to make it bearable. Gourmand lovers will surely enjoy this fragrance. Those who are not keen on gourmands will surely take a pass on this fragrance.

I own the shower gel, body spray, and body cream. As with a few of the other B&BW fragrances, the body creme is much better than both the shower gel, which is mainly floral, and the body spray which is fairly light, floral, and finally gourmand. The body creme has outstanding longevity. I get more than sixteen hours from the body spray-body creme combo. The body creme persists even after I have washed my hands.

I enjoy this fragrance some days more than others. I find I have to be in the mood to wear it because of the top notes. I think Magic in the Air wears better in cool to cold weather. In the heat and humidity of Summer, it can feel a bit too sweet and cloying, much like other very foodie offerings from B&BW, e.g. Golden Pear and Brown Sugar, and Vanilla Bean Noel. All three of these fragrances are unrelentingly sweet gourmands. I own all three, but it is highly unlikely I would purchase any of them again. I like some gourmands very much, but these three are all too foodie for me personally.

Magic in the Air is not a bad fragrance, but because of the top notes and the way it develops on my skin, I must give it a qualified thumbs up. Buy it only if the listed notes appeal to you and only if you are a gourmand lover. I find the bottle design quite attractive, though. B&BW seems to make more of an effort with packaging than many other brands do, and this bottle is pretty and very appealing to the eye. It says "pick me up and spray me!"

Fragrance: 5/10
Projection: 7/10
Sillage: 7/10
Longevity: 10/10 for the body creme, 6/10 for the body spray.
29th May, 2019
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Gardénia Pétale by Van Cleef & Arpels

I do not have too much to say about this fragrance other than that it is stunningly beautiful in the top notes. It is still nice in the dry down, but the main beauty lay in the too quickly faded top notes. It smells so fresh, realistic, and delicious, and it is actually quite sheer for a this type of white floral, but the performance is poor.

Longevity, projection, and sillage leave much to be desired, unfortunately. If the beauty of those top notes hung around for a good while longer, I would award this fragrance five stars. Because of the poor performance, I am giving it a neutral. It performs much more like a cologne than an EdP, and I do not feel it merits VC&A's price point. This fragrance is utterly beautiful but fleeting.

Fragrance: 10/10 for the top notes. 5/10 for the rest of the notes.
Longevity: 5/10
Sillage: 5/10
Projection: 5/10
24th April, 2019

Moonlight Patchouli by Van Cleef & Arpels

I tried this fragrance for the fist time today, so these are only first impressions, and I may have to update the review later, but so far, Moonlight Patchouli has failed to impress me.

Firstly, I cannot really distinguish the notes. The fragrance is blended in such a way that it presents as something that to my nose smells like a generic department store fragrance. There are moments here and there where it recalls Coromandel for a nanosecond, but that is about all.

Initially, MP smells a bit medicinal but not overly so. It is light, somewhat transparent, and clean. It is unisex. There is nothing particularly feminine about it, but then again, there is nothing particularly masculine about it either, although I would be less surprised to smell this on a man than on a woman. Although it has floral notes of rose and iris, I do not find this fragrance especially floral or sweet or warm, and it certainly is not gourmand. Within the first 30 minutes, I could almost detect a cocoa note, but again, it was not a gourmand note, and it did not linger.

I find this a rather difficult fragrance to describe. It is rather cool and somewhat high pitched. It is unisex, and it reminds me of the generic smell of a department store such as Macy's, which is not a plus for me. I cannot say it is a bad fragrance, but I cannot say it is a really good fragrance, either. It just "is." Maybe that is enough for VC&A, but I want more. If the listed notes sound good to you, I suggest you spend a bit more and buy Coromandel. It is a much more satisfying fragrance, and it is well worth the price difference.

I do not think MP would be a good choice either for office or other work environments. It is more casual, inelegant, and sporty than it is either office friendly or date night appropriate. Performance is average.

The only thing about MP that I find really interesting is its name. The name suggests romance, but I do not find the fragrance at all romantic. It seems sporty instead, and if it leans slightly toward the masculine.

Fragrance: 5/10
Projection: 6/10
Sillage: 6/10
Longevity: 7/10
18th April, 2019

Passion by Elizabeth Taylor

This is the second Elizabeth Taylor fragrance I have purchased. The first was Diamonds and Rubies in either an EdT or an EdP formulation. I do not recall exactly. It was a new bottle, and given the notes, I expected it to be a love or at least a strong like, but sadly, I must tell you dear readers that it smelt like hairspray to me and not good hairspray either.

I decided I might find a vintage Elizabeth Taylor fragrance a lot more appealing, though. This time I opted for Passion in the EdT formulation. I purchased two vintage bottles from the first production run. The first bottle was simply unwearable. Whatever was left of the fragrance smelt more like old cardboard than a voluptuous Oriental.
The second, smaller bottle was wearable, but I did not like it as much as I hoped again based on the listed notes. I cannot identify it as an Oriental at all. I am not sure how I would categorise it to be honest.

I cannot pick out any of the wonderful notes listed in the pyramid. It smells like a very generic sort of fragrance. I find it neither spicy nor animalic. It is not particularly floral either. I am disappointed. Ms. Taylor was anything but ordinary. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for her fragrances, and I doubt I will try any more of them. They seem to be very low quality compared to a lot of other chemist shop scents. For example, Revlon Ciara is a very affordable fragrance, yet it is so much better than the Taylor fragrances. Passion's longevity is reasonable, but sillage and projection are very low.

As for the bottles, they are a bit kitschy, but I like them nonetheless. However, Passion's bottle feels so cheaply made that it could crack apart in my hand if I squeezed it too tightly, but I still like it.

I am so sorry to give a thumbs down to this fragrance. I wanted to be able to rate it neutral, but it would be less than honest of me to rate it neutral. Perhaps if I had smelt it whence it was first introduced, I would have liked it more. It has not aged well at all. By the way, the liquid does seem to be coloured purple, so be careful of it around your clothing if you decide to try it.

Fragrance: 2/10

Projection: 2/10

Sillage: 2/10

Longevity: 5/10
28th February, 2019

Romance by Ralph Lauren

Romance was a fragrance that I looked forward to testing because I love Ralph Lauren Safari and had reasonably high expectations for Romance, but Romance is definitely not another Safari. Where to begin?

I really do not enjoy giving any fragrance a thumbs down, but Romance is a very synthetic mishmash of notes that smell more like a very inexpensive floral-type air freshener than anything else, and it gave me a bit of headache. I would not want to smell this even in a public convenience much less on myself or anyone else in the room with me. I am thoroughly disappointed as well as sad that the legendary Ralph Lauren's name is on this product. I am glad I did not purchase it blindly and only had a sample of it which I will promptly pass on. This is one of the very few fragrances that I would not wear even if it were gifted me.

Fragrance: 1/10

Projection: 5/10

Sillage: 5/10

Longevity: 5/10 (Thank goodness!)
02nd September, 2018

Ciara Femme Fatale by Revlon

Basenotes lists Femme Fatale's notes as:

Top Notes: Pear
Heart Notes: Jasmine, Mandarin, Peach
Base Notes: Vanilla, Sandalwood

Another website lists the notes as:

Top Notes: Mandarin, Lily of the Valley, Peach, Cyclamen, Pear
Heart Notes: Jasmine, African Orange Flower, Rose, Nutmeg
Base Notes: Musk, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Vanilla

My nose is not well tutored enough to tease out all of the individual notes (where is J-P Guerlain whence you need him, eh? : ), but I believe I can detect pear, peach, rose, nutmeg, and vanilla in this rather captivating composition. Although not really the same as Dior Dolce Vita, FF has a similar warmth and near gourmand quality about it.

I also own the original Ciara which I adore. The fact that one can purchase such a gorgeous Oriental as Ciara for a song is amazing to me, and whilst I will always prefer the original over Femme Fatale, I am very happy to have Femme Fatale in my collection. FF's fruits and flowers come together beautifully and almost make it a gourmand but not quite. The base provides a warm sensuality to this fragrance. I feel it a shame that it was discontinued, but at least for now, it can be found reasonably easily still. If you love these notes, and if you love warm Orientals, give this fragrance a try. I think you will be glad you did. It performs quite admirably for a "cologne," too. It out performs many of my more expensive, contemporary EdT's.

Despite the name, I think the right man could wear this fragrance as easily as a woman, and whilst I do not generally relegate fragrances either to day or night, but this one is more of a night time fragrance, or at least a dusk-time fragrance. I think it would be more appropriate for romantic wear than office wear. FF is a gem at the current price point for a discontinued fragrance. I also would like to add that the packaging is enchanting. The one-size-fits all packaging of Chanel, Lutens, Malle, and, alas now Guerlain as well, have nothing on Charles Revson and FF in terms of presentation--lovely box and lovely bottle both.

Fragrance: 6.75/10
Projection: 6.5/10
Sillage: 6.5/10
Longevity: 6/10
30th August, 2018

Facets by Avon

My bottle of Facets is probably from the late 1980s to early 1990s. I am unsure how long this fragrance was in production, but I am glad to have it in my collection because it is beautiful.

Facets is a sweet floral that smells feminine, innocent yet sexy, warm, voluptuous, and very happy. At least it makes me feel happy anytime I apply it. I detect the violet immediately upon application, and soon the other notes follow including a gorgeous, heady tuberose that makes me swoon. The only note I cannot detect is the oak moss. It reminds me slightly of the much more expensive Bucheron Bucheron. I own both, and whilst I like the latter very much, I think I might like Facets a little more. I wish I had it in body creme and dusting powder, too. It is a fragrance in which to drown, but oh what a happy death it would be!

Facets is simply delicious. It is the kind of perfume that I cannot imagine anyone ever disliking. This sort of fragrance has an eternal appeal. Personally, I am quite taken with it, or could not you tell? :) There is something Guerlainesque about it, especially in the dry down which is very warm and transportive. The bottle, too, is lovely. Whilst exclusive houses such as Guerlain, Chanel, Lutens, Malle, and others are using the same bottle with a different label for every fragrance, Avon continues to produce some really appealing bottles now that it is long since past the "kiddie" bottles of the 1970s, and to be honest, the packaging does matter to me. I love a beautiful bottle.

This is a very feminine fragrance suitable to virtually any venue. I think it would be a sexy date night fragrance, although it could certainly be worn during the daytime, too. Projection and sillage are moderate. I wish longevity were better, but my bottle is quite old, so that may be the reason why I do not get particularly good longevity from it. In any case, Facets is definitely full bottle worthy for me. If you like these notes, I think you will love this fragrance. This is one of the discontinued fragrances that Avon should definitely bring back. Gorgeous!

Fragrance: 8/10
Projection: 6/10
Sillage: 6/10
Longevity: 5/10
15th August, 2018

Chantilly by Dana

This review is for vintage Houbigant Chantilly.

Top Notes: Fruit, Lemon, Bergamot, Neroli.

Heart Notes: Spices, Carnation, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Orange Blossom, Rose.

Base Notes: Leather, Tonka Bean, Musk, Benzoin, Oak Moss, Vanilla, Sandalwood..

I recalled this fragrance from many, many years ago, but I could not recall how it smelt. I read a few reviews wherein the reviewers stated that is smelt like Shalimar, so I never purchased it as I own Shalimar. Finally, thanks to another perfume lover who advised me to get it, I did purchase it, and all I can say is I am sorry I waited so long to add it to my collection. It really is a lovely, lovey, feminine fragrance. It is warm and a bit powdery with strong citrus notes that are not sharp at all because they blend beautifully with the floral notes. As for the notion that it smells like Shalimar, well, I can only state that to my nose it may in the same olfactory category, i.e. Oriental, but it could never be mistaken for Shalimar. If I had not read that a few years ago, I would have purchased it much sooner than I did.

As of this writing, I own Chantilly in EdT, PdT, and parfum formulations. I particularly like the PdT and parfum. I also have the dusting powder which pairs beautifully with the fragrance. Chantilly smells classic. To some young noses, I suppose it might smell dated, but I love and look forward to wearing it as much as any other fragrance I own. I think it works better as an Autumn and Winter scent, but it could certainly be worn all year round. If I try hard, I can tease out most of the notes except for the leather note. With Shalimar, I have no trouble detecting the leather note.

Chantilly is soft, feminine, warm, spicy, florally, and just plain scrummy. I cannot see how anyone could be offended by this elegant fragrance, so I feel it would be appropriate to virtually any venue. I am sure some men could carry it off as well.

My review is based on vintage Houbigant EdT, EdP, and dusting powder. I think the vintage packaging is lovely, too. It is no wonder to me that Chantilly has been around since 1941. It is a classic and well worth adding to one's wardrobe, especially for the price point which is quite modest compared to many of my other fragrances. Performance is average, but my bottles are pretty old, too, so that may have something to do with it. I have not tried the most recent formulation, so please try before you purchase as many feel the Dana formulation leaves a lot to be desired.

There is something very comforting about this fragrance. Perhaps I have unconscious associations of it, but whatever may be the reason(s), this is one fragrance I am very pleased to have in my collection. If you already own Shalimar, adding Chantilly to your collection will not be a redundancy. I wish I had known this a long time ago.

Fragrance: 8.5/10

Projection: 6/10

Silage: 6/10

Longevity: 6/10
03rd July, 2018

Chance Eau Fraîche by Chanel

Any time I order from Chanel, they always send me a couple of samples with my order. This was one of the samples I received. It has been sitting in my parfum cupboard with a ton of other samples for at least two years now. I want to try to use up a lot of my samples, so today after my bath, I chose Chance eau Fraiche as it seemed a good choice for this extremely hot weather.

I agree with many other reviewers that it is a nice fragrance. It is fresh and refreshing indeed, and it is a very good choice for hot, sticky weather such as we have at the moment. However, I do not think it is worth Chancel prices, and if I wanted to purchase a fresh, citrus type fragrance, I would opt for the dreamy Fleurs de Cedrat from Guerlain, but this is my own personal taste. I am sure others would opt for the Chanel.

I rated this fragrance two stars and Neutral, but if I had been able to do, I would have rated it two and half stars. Whilst it smells nice enough, I do not find it special in any way, and as I said before, I think it is overpriced for what it is. I cannot imagine this fragrance could possibly offend anyone, so it could be worn virtually anywhere day or night. I also think it is quite unisex. As always, if possible, try before you buy.

Fragrance: 4/10
Silage: 5/10
Projection: 5/10
Longevity: 5/10
30th June, 2018

Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens

Some time ago I was gifted a bottle of Iris Silver Mist by a dear friend. I have had it in my parfum cupboard for months untouched. Tonight I was rummaging around trying to decide what to wear whence I accidentally tipped over the bottle, and it fell onto some clean towels I store in the cupboard. I thought, thank heavens it did not break! Then I thought, perhaps now is the time to finally try it, so I generously spritzed both arms and my decolletage. As many other reviewers have opined, it smelt like fresh carrots, so I was not surprised by this, but I admit I was not especially favourably impressed, either.

Curiously enough, my dog smelt it from the other room and immediately came to sniff me. He rarely leaves his comfy bed at this time of night unless he thinks there is food about, so he, too, must have thought it smelt foodie in a vegetal way.

I love iris, but this iris is not the iris fragrance in my collection I would reach for first, or second, or even third. It is an interesting fragrance, 'tis true, but I do not find it especially appealing. I am not sure what all I detected in the dry down, but I did not detect almost all of the listed notes.

This is a fragrance worth testing for reference, but I would not recommend purchasing it blindly. I suppose it is unisex, but I cannot imagine a venue where it would be particularly appropriate or appreciated. Perhaps it would be nice to wear whilst working in one's garden?? Overall I find it vegetal without a hint of sweetness. Yes, in the dry down there is iris...a rooty, vegetal iris, but there is little else, at least to my nose.

This fragrance is a solid 4/10 across the board for me. I am glad to have experienced it, but it is not a fragrance I would have purchased for myself.
My sincere apologies to those who love it. Please try before you buy.

Fragrance: 4/10

Projection: 4/10

Sillage: 4/10

Longevity: 4/10
29th June, 2018

La Fleur by Bath and Body Works

La Fleur is one of those clean, fresh, green, realistic floral fragrances that draws one in as effortlessly as does a freshly bloomed flower beckons one to push one's nose into its bloom and inhale deeply. Every time I smell it, I feel as though I have just walked into a florist's shop and am surrounded by cold, silver floral urn brimming over with freshly picked tulips, waterlilies, and freesias.

La Fleur is a very pleasant pick me up in hot weather. It is nice to wear either during the day or at night after one's bath. It is not a ground breaking scent by any means, but it perfectly achieves what it sets out to achieve, and that is all it needs to do in my opinion. La Fleur makes me think of soft, cotton, flowery sundresses, straw hats, white strappy sandals, and light, cool refreshments served in a well tended, shady garden. This is a quite nice addition to your collection for a very reasonable price.

Fragrance: 6/10

Projection: 5/10

Longevity: 5/10

Sillage: 5.5/10
13th June, 2018

Noir Epices by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

I have fallen in love with a couple of Malle Fragrances, much to my wallet's chagrin, but Noir Epices is not one of them. I mainly detect nothing but very fresh, tart orange peel or rind just as if I had begun to peel a fresh orange. This citrus note dominates the entire composition for me from top to bottom. I like orange, but I prefer it a bit sweeter than this, and I prefer it not be the dominant note throughout. This is too much tart orange rind for me. Perhaps if the spice notes were warmer and more pronounced, I would like this fragrance more, but they are barely there at all.

There is not much more I can say about this fragrance. Projection, sillage, and longevity are average. It is as unisex as is orange juice. This might be a good fragrance to wear to the club for brunch and perhaps a bit of tennis later in the afternoon, but one could achieve much the same result simply by stuffing some fresh orange rind into one's cleavage.

Fragrance: 3.5/10

Sillage: 5/10

Projection: 5/10

Longevity: 4.5/10
25th May, 2018

Extraordinary by Avon

Top Notes: Grapefruit, Raspberry, Mandarine, Pepper.

Heart Notes: Dark Chocolate, Ginger, Lotus, Magnolia, Orchid.

Base Notes: Musk, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla.

The first thing that attracted me to Extraordinary was the notes which looked very good, and of course the bottle is quite lovely, so naturally, I purchased it. I have owned it for months now, but I have worn it only infrequently due to the number of fragrances in my collection.

Extraordinary is a spicy fragrance. I cannot discern all of the notes, but the dark chocolate, black pepper, and ginger persist throughout the wearing for me. A hint of mandarine appears in the top notes but does not last for very long. I think I also detect a bit of patchouli in the dry down, but to my nose, Extraordinary is all about the chocolate, the pepper, and the ginger. Normally, neither black pepper nor ginger are amongst my most beloved notes, but they work well enough here.

Extraordinary wears much closer to the skin and much softer than I thought it would do. I get 4+ hours from it if I use 8-10 sprays spread across my arms, decollatage, and thighs. I suppose I use it more like a body spray than an eau de parfum. Overall, I like it, but I probably would not repurchase it once I use up the bottle I have now.

Extraordinary is pretty unisex in my opinion. It is soft enough to be worn to one's office, but it would probably be best reserved for casual wear. I would not call it "sexy," but it is a nice chocolate scent for those who love chocolate. I would label it a spicy Oriental rather than a gourmand because although the chocolate note is unmistakeable, it does not smell "edible" as do so many Bath and Body Works gourmand fragrances, for instance. It is a good buy for the price point if you like these notes, and the bottle is so gosh darn cute.

Fragrance: 5.5/10

Projection: 5/10

Sillage: 5/10

Longevity: 5/10
09th April, 2018

Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum Intense by Chanel

Well, I finally stopped by Macy's today and tested CMI. As many reviewers have said, it is very close to CM EdP. The biggest difference is that the citrus has been toned down in the Intense formulation, and that makes it a bit smoother. At least that is the main difference as far as I am concerned. I cannot tease out notes of amber, tonka, vanilla, or even rose, but I could identify it blindfolded as CM. Personally, I like it more than CM EdP simply because the citrus is so much less stringent.

Re performance, projection and sillage are very good. Longevity seems to be quite good, too. For the price point, it is a good fragrance with better than average performance. In fact, it out performs my recently purchased Frederic Malle fragrances by a mile. (Make of that what you will.)

However, if I wanted to recommend a Chanel fragrance to someone, excluding the exclusives, I would recommend both Coco EdT and Coco EdP over any version of Mademoiselle. Mademoiselle is certainly a nice fragrance, but there are so many nicer fragrances from which to choose. It is worth testing in any case.

Fragrance: 7/10

Projection: 8/10

Sillage: 8/10

Longevity: 8/10
25th March, 2018

Carnal Flower by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Beautiful but Enormously Overpriced Take on the Legendary Fracas.

Notes: Tuberose, Eucalyptus, Coconut, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Melon, Ylang-Ylang, White Musk, Bergamot.

I was gifted a sample of Carnal Flower recently, and I liked it so much that I purchased a full bottle from a very reputable retailer. I do not know how old was the sample gifted me, but I now suspect that it must have been a few years old because the perfume in the full bottle does not seem to be as rich and complex as is the sample, and to my surprise given its price point, its performance is moderate at best. With an amazing six spritzes, projection and sillage were only mild to good for the first hour, and then it very quickly turned into a skin scent. Longevity was also mild to good at roughly four hours. After having read so many reviews that claimed only 1-2 spritzes provided massive projection and sillage for an entire day and half the night or more, I am very disappointed in Carnal Flower's performance.

Carnal Flower is a very beautiful perfume, but having worn Fracas many times, I did not find Carnal Flower to be at all unique or even very different from Fracas, and given its mediocre performance, I could not recommend it over Fracas. Perhaps Carnal Flower's lack lustre performance is due to reformulation? Perhaps the fragrance in the original formulation only required 1-2 spritzes to last all day and half the night as some reviewers have stated, but this is not true of the fragrance in my brand new bottle. After 3-4 hours, Carnal Flower is only barely perceptible on my skin, and it smells so similar to Fracas that I find it redundant to have it my collection.

If you love and own Fracas, you can probably live without Carnal Flower. It is undoubtedly a beautiful tuberose-centric fragrance, but I do not feel it is worth its price point even if you do not already own Fracas. You can buy roughly three 100ml bottles of Fracas for what it costs to purchase one 50ml bottle of Carnal Flower. In my opinion, Carnal Flower is simply not worth the inflated price. Fracas is just as gorgeous and performs equally as well if not better.

I am sorry to say it, but I find Carnal Flower to be little more than a Fracas clone. Madonna's Truth or Dare is also a take on Fracas, but Truth or Dare is dissimilar enough to Fracas to be quite distinguishable in its own right, and it costs significantly less than Fracas which costs significantly less than Carnal Flower, so for those on a strict budget, I suggest purchasing Truth or Dare. If you can afford Fracas, forget Truth or Dare and purchase Fracas instead as it is of a higher quality and is a more beautiful fragrance. Either way, Truth or Dare or Fracas, there is no need to pay almost $300 for a 50ml bottle of Carnal Flower unless you want it for the brand name prestige.

Fragrance: 8.75/10

Projection: 6/10 (first hour only)

Sillage: 6/10 (first hour only)

Longevity: 5/10

Presentation: 5/10
26th January, 2018

Lys Carmin by Van Cleef & Arpels

I am not strictly speaking a great lover of straight up floral fragrances, but I am drawn to the white floral notes in a few outstanding fragrances, e.g. Guerlain Mahora and 24 Faubourg. Over the course of my perfume journey, I have come to know and to love some white floral notes such as gardenia and tuberose, and over the course of this last year, I began an exploration of another white floral note--lily. I purchased several outstanding fragrances with a prominent lily note: Guerlain Lys Soleia; Donna Karan Gold; Cartier Baiser Volé; Cartier Baiser Volé Essence; and, Serge Lutens Un Lys. With my appetite for lily throughly whetted, I next sought out and purchased Lys Carmin.

Lys Carmin is unlike any of my other fragrances that contain a prominent lily note. Lys Soleia and Gold are both warm lily fragrances that incorporate several other floral notes whilst Baiser Volé Essence is made lightly warm and soothing by vanilla. Both Basier Volé and Un Lys on the other hand are very fresh, green lily-centric fragrances, studies of one flower only--true solifores. Lys Carmin, however, is neither especially warm nor green. Instead, as others have noted, it is a spicy lily fragrance ever so slightly sweetened by ylang-ylang and vanilla.

I find LC quite airy and light. On my skin it wears as a hazy, gauzy lily mist that seems to float around my body rather than project off of my body. It brings to mind the Spanish ironwork lace balconies of the French Quarter, long white silk gowns, wide brimmed hats dripping in white flowers, and gently scented white handkerchiefs discreetly tucked between soft bossoms that glisten ever so slightly with perspiration borne of Summer heat and humidity.

I find LC to be an undeniably feminine, lily-centric fragrance. It is fairly linear but nevertheless quite lovely. Projection and sillage are both soft. Longevity is average. It would be appropriate in virtually any venue any time of year except perhaps during the coldest months where its lovely fragrance may be eclipsed by frigid temperatures and icy winds. In short, it is a quite beautiful white floral fragrance, and I am very pleased to have added LC to my collection.

Fragrance: 9/10

Projection: 5/10

Sillage: 5/10

Longevity: 6/10
03rd January, 2018

Angélique Noire by Guerlain

Angelique Noire is such a lovely and unique fragrance. It is rich, dark, sumptuous, lush, and thus very aptly named. I love the angelica note in this. The legendary Guerlain vanilla takes AN right up to the border of "gourmand," but keeps it from crossing over, yet there is something "delicious" about AN as if it is almost but not quite like a decadent dessert. I find AN rather feminine, but I think the right man could easily wear this as well. It is a lovely fragrance for Autumn and Winter. It would wear well on very crisp Spring days as well. It might feel slightly heavy in hot humid weather, but if you are in a temperature controlled environment all day, I see no reason why it would not be wearable during the Summer months.

On me AN wears pretty close to my skin. Projection and sillage are rather minimal, but longevity is very good, especially on clothing. I must say, as well, that the presentation for all of these Guerlain exclusives is outstanding---far nicer presentation than CHANEL exclusifs. Guerlain is elegance.

This fragrance whispers, "come hither...." and draws in those around you. Wear AN whence you want to be relentlessly nibbled. ; )
02nd December, 2017

Elusive by Avon

Top Notes: Incense, Galbanum.

Heart Notes: Cloves, Coriander.

Base Notes: Civet, Oriss Root, Musk, Oak Moss.

This review is for a vintage EdC which I purchased blindly. My bottle is pre-barcode and quite possibly a 1970s vintage. For an EdC, Elusive is really powerful. It is supposed to be an Oriental. I find it to be more of a Floriental.

I found the notes listed above on-line, so I am not sure how accurate they are, but I definitely detect some of these notes. I cannot tease out any particular spices or floral notes, but I do detect floral notes and a lot of incense. The incense is quite prominent on my skin. I really enjoy incense perfumes, so I am quite pleased with Elusive's incense note. I do not detect anything akin to vanilla or amber or other such warmer notes in Elusive. Elusive is more of a cool fragrance than a warm one.

Elusive smells "perfume-y" in the old style way. I doubt anyone would mistake it for a contemporary Floriental. It is a fragrance for a mature woman or man. It is somewhat dry, somewhat green and florally in the deep dry down, and not at all sweet. It may possibly have some oak moss in its base.

Elusive is another one of those old but surprising Avon EdC's that can be had for a song. If you like incense and florals, I encourage you to give it a try.

I feels unisex and is probably more appropriate for evening wear and cooler weather. Projection is excellent for an EdC. Sillage is moderate to moderate plus. Longevity is average for an EdC.

I like it well enough, but I probably will not reach for it as often as some of my other Avons such as Rare Rubies which is warmer, richer, and more to my overall taste. Still, I am glad to have had the chance to try Elusive.

I am rating Elusive in comparison with my other older Avons such as Occur, Timeless, and Charisma, all of which I find myself more drawn.

Fragrance: 3.5/10

Projection: 7/10

Sillage: 6/10

Longevity: 5/10
24th November, 2017 (last edited: 25th November, 2017)