Perfume Reviews

Reviews by ArcaBellitas

Total Reviews: 53

Un Jardin Après La Mousson by Hermès

A rain soaked spice market’s exotic offerings and tepid earth gently linger in the atmosphere after a turbulent storm. A warm, comforting scent of cardamom braids with the vegetal greenness of coriander and bright, peppery ginger. Light grass and unidentifiable flowers add to the mix, creating an enjoyable watery tisane. Unfortunately, the longevity is not great and it has but a whisper of projection. It’s lovely, but I’d love a punch of stronger staying power and more sillage. As with all Un Jardin offerings, it’s labeled as unisex. It pulls more feminine on me. I still prefer sur le Nil and en Méditerranée.

Update: About four hours after I initially applied, I caught the mild scent of a ginger beer lacking some of the bite. It was a pleasant surprise.
30th November, 2020

Mandragore by Annick Goutal

Oh so fleeting! It’s such a shame because this lovely, sparkling scent has no longevity. Here and gone in about an hour, I doused myself in the juice. It is energetically uplifting and refreshingly brilliant with fresh bergamot and pepperiness. Not too sweet, it’s an herbal tisane fragrance with vegetal notes and a touch of spicy herb. It is cooling and makes a great spray on a hot and humid day. It sits on the skin, giving only wisps of enjoyment. It just needs to last longer for the price tag.
30th November, 2020

Cade & Cedarwood by Jo Malone London

Spicy church incense, smoky wooded herbaceous all the way down. Powdery and peppery. It’s pleasant but I would not say it has any specific cedar wood scent. The cade is dominant, tar-like, calming. I like this scent, it is grounding and has a protective, cocoon like wrapping. Warm, ember-y vanilla. It simply feels good to wear. Hours later-5-a mild touch of smoky incense and sweetened vanilla remain. The whole scent, from top to bottom is understated, with a sillage close to the skin; not a lot of projection here. It isn’t a mind blowing fragrance, but I do like it.
30th November, 2020
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Tabac Aurea by Sonoma Scent Studio

Creamy vanilla sweetness with a spicy-warm, sticky brûlée shell. Tobacco leaf is definitely present but is not on the forefront, rather it’s a supporting player that is always present. Woody musk and sandalwood overtake the tobacco, and buttery soft leathery amber waft in. The alcohol never quite burns off and leaves a stinging astringency.

Tabac Aurea is gentler, pleasant counterpart to Voyage d'Tabac by West Third Brand which is a screaming synthetic and weirdly sweet scent.
30th November, 2020

Plum Blossom by Jo Malone

Synthetic notes and alcohol on first application. As it develops, heady flower blossoms and a smidge of fruit appear. It stays pretty linear and doesn’t really go anywhere. A headache was aggressively developing so I had to scrub it off...the scent lingered.

Plum blossoms do have a “flowery” scent. However, they’re also a little grounded and have a green tanginess about them. JMPB is mostly generic floral notes and not plum blossoms, specifically.

A friend from the past has family in Montana and she brought me some wonderful fragrance products from a local gift shop, Planet Earth. They have the most wonderful Plum Blossom fragrance oil and spritzer. It’s fruity, yet grounded and green. The blossoms are given their light floral, spicy and vegetal due. It’s so good, but they don’t ship their products. I though perhaps JMPB would give me some of those summer/fall transitional fragrance vibes.

Ah well, maybe a road trip is in order.
30th November, 2020

Philosykos Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

Many reviews have come before mine, and are extremely well done. I have thoughts though and we have this lovely forum, so why not add?

This is a dreamy walk through a sultry Turkish garden on the Mediterranean Sea. Damp, warm earthy ground and splotches of sunlight streaking through shady patches under the cloak of figgy trees.

Here come the adjectives...Philosykos is all things verdant, vegetal, dusky, musty, milky, green, spicy, creamy, and finally, dry.

Olivia Giacobetti pays homage to mysterious fig groves. The entire tree is represented in this scent: branches, fruit, leaves, and cloudy sap. I’ve seen many reviews call it unwearable unless one desires to smell like an actual tree and surrounding dirt. It is certainly true that this scent is quite literal in interpretation. And while it turns off as many as it excites, I enjoy this scent. Scent is so unique to each wearer. The reviews are great to see different takes on the scent, but I recommend trying for yourself.

For me, the sensual fleshiness of fig fruit pulls through, creating a dichotomy of soiled dryness and hazy sweet fruit. I’ve also layered it with Hermès Un Jardin en Méditerranée for giggles.
30th November, 2020

Winter Woods by Sonoma Scent Studio

A creamy, rounded ambery-musk with slight astringency. It’s sweet, but not overly so. Bundles of charred, smoky wood, and a hint of powder, not precious, are present. The dry down is beautifully calm and warm, but there’s also something cool and metallic lingering in the background.

It has the woody element I was hoping to get from Forest Walk. Winter Woods at least has some trees and wooded scent, but still would not call it a walk through the woods. There’s an incense-like sticky, tarred up resinous-ness that reminds me of cloudy church smoke.

It packs a sillage punch and lasts longer than most scents.
30th November, 2020

Forest Walk by Sonoma Scent Studio

Where are the trees, let alone the forest between?

I know better by now than to have expectations when it comes to fragrances. They almost never meet the wild musings of the nose belonging to my imagination.

Forest Walk, on my person, is a spicy, tarred-up resinous, sandalwood fragrance. It’s pretty delicious, and musky. Warm and long lasting, it has a hint of honeyed soda.

It is not, however, a walk through the forest. The woody, mossy, dirty loam is missing. No leaves or even a hint of earthy, unctuous mushrooms or budding flowers stretching their tendril-like stems in search of light.

It’s good, but not the forest-y scent of my dreams. I’m very happy to have given it go, I’ve had my eye on Forest Walk for years. It, like most of SSS’s offerings, is beautifully blended and crafted with the utmost care.
30th November, 2020

Wood Violet by Sonoma Scent Studio

A gentle, yet full-bodied, sticky-spiced plum jam scented with musty, powdery violets. Sandalwood and a powdery musk mingle with a confounding papery dryness. Relaxing cedar makes a brief appearance. An interesting scent that had me scrubbing because it was too much for the people I was with. I found it feminine and calming.
25th November, 2020

Cocoa Sandalwood by Sonoma Scent Studio

Languid rivulets pooling in an amber puddle on the base of an aged whiskey barrel. Piquant peat dusted with unsweetened cocoa powder. A grounded gourmand without sweetness. It has heaps of buttered sandalwood, eliciting a bit of nausea. It’s a uniquely interesting fragrance, but it’s not for me.
17th November, 2020

Equestrian by Sonoma Scent Studio

The scent of apples, some floral notes, and a hint of leatheriness. I've spent a decent amount of time in tack rooms, stalls, and horse corrals. It's definitely meant to invoke sense memories. While this fragrance doesn't put me back in the saddle, as it were, it is not unpleasant.
17th November, 2020

Fig Tree by Sonoma Scent Studio

A creamy, spicy, verdant fig. It’s delicious and milky, ever-so-slightly underripe drops of fruit. Fathoms deep, the whole tree is represented here. Nothing jammy here, it is all spice and greenery. The musk, which is forward and prevalent on my skin, is synthetic smelling. That would be my only issue with this scent. Otherwise, it’s lovely.
13th November, 2020

Bee's Bliss by Sonoma Scent Studio

Bees and blossoms. I could wax on for a ditty but I think pretty fragrance is pretty straight forward. Lots of heady blooms, a veritable garden of vast beauty and color. An appropriate setting for bees. Heaps of honey, comby wax, and pollen. It’s a springy scent and packs a punch.

This is a thumbs up for creation. It’s a headache scrubber for me- certain flowers.
11th November, 2020
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Fireside Intense by Sonoma Scent Studio

Wispy wind ushers in swathes of dense, acrid burning wood. A warm, jovial campfire crackling and sparking. Thick, voluptuous wafts of smoke enshroud and wrap in a soft embrace. Damp earth and dewy oaks mingle with something almost solar and creamy. A caramelized warmth, ever so slightly sugared. The mixing alcohol never quite burns off, but doesn’t fully detract from the scent.
10th November, 2020

Incense Pure by Sonoma Scent Studio

Spicy, sticky incense and resinous sappiness. Decrepit, crumbling stones and dusty caverns. Dirty sweetness and woods swirl with aged, wilting flowers. Interesting and slightly pious without the choking church clouds.
09th November, 2020

Pacific Forest by Sonoma Scent Studio

Deep woods, incense lightly smoked, conifer trees and sticky sappy needles. Resinous waxy, honeyed sweetness, dusty florals and soft earth. The strange waxiness lasted well into the next morning.
09th November, 2020

Voile de Violette by Sonoma Scent Studio

Languorous, velvet bittersweet violet pastilles and crispy, dry paper. Soft green and sappy, resinous wood base plays with gentle fruitiness. A fluffy creaminess envelops the entire scent and helps to diffuse some the stronger floral notes. It’s a thoughtful fragrance that carries with it a romantic maudlin feel. This a nice scent lending itself temperate weather, and leans feminine on my skin. I do like it and appreciate the creation of the scent.

Unfortunately, I won't wearing it for long because something in it is leaving a nauseous ball in my midsection and a dull headache developing behind the ears and between my eyes.
04th November, 2020

Le Jardin de Monsieur Li by Hermès

I find myself completely confounded by this fragrance. It’s so transparent and aqueous, so flowing and diaphanous that I can’t catch any one scent.

So I wait a few minutes and try again.

And...douse myself in the entire decant, skin and clothing.

Now I get something.

Thick powdery musk in the base, definitely some floral accord that I’m not used to with the Jardin series.
Golden-ambery honey flowing like mana and sharply dry, crisp paper. Mayhap some cantaloupe or citrus? It’s calming. I immediately thought of an arid, desolate desert...and an oasis flowing with cooling water and shade.
It’s neither sweet nor dry...rather oddly balanced.

I do like it. There’s something holding me back from love though, maybe the flower note. I still prefer sur le Nil and en Méditerranée. Those two aren’t nearly as floral.
12th October, 2020 (last edited: 13th October, 2020)

Blackberry & Bay by Jo Malone

I kept trying to make this work, I’ve had several decants and manufacturer samples. Even sampled in the store...a few times. No more.

I like the idea of this fragrance, deep berries and green, somewhat spicy herb. Unfortunately, it just never works out that way. What starts with a delicious, full jammy fruit immediately turns sour and synthetic. And I know, synthetics are par for the course when capturing the essence of many scents. However, this smacks of unwearable artifice.

The berries wear off right away and are replaced with red cough syrup flavor-heavy on the alcohol, and acidic herb. I get a, a lot of generic, overly “masculine” grapefruit. It’s astringent in a woeful way. There may be some wood in the dry down, but it just ends up smelling like spicy sweat on me. I scrubbed.

No more.
12th October, 2020

Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic by Guerlain

This used to be one of my absolute favorite scents, and I do still like it, but the infatuation has waned.

A synthetic blast slightly edges out pleasant scents of iced green tea, juicy and zesty mandarin, and crisp, herbaceous basil. The basil is delicious, but turns a little Tulsi (Holy Basil), bumping the sweet quotient. It’s cooling, but amber warms it up a notch. I still enjoy it during warm weather as a cooling spritzer. Oh, and I wouldn’t call this a feminine exclusive. It’s definitely wearable for men-fresh, crisp, cooling, and balanced in sweetness.
10th October, 2020

Dzongkha by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Autumn in the mountains, a relaxation and rejuvenation retreat. Deep breathing. Cool, crisp weather. Spindly fingers of chilly breeze nip and pluck at the skin, reminding one of the prudence of donning a thick, cozy sweater. Leaves and needles turn brilliant, rich colors: deep bronze, fiery crimson, khaki, spicy umber, sienna, azalea, brick, tangerine, turmeric, and fatigue green. Trees languorously stretch and shed excess baggage. The remnants snapping and crunching beneath foot warming soles.
Curls of scent teasing the nose. A turid brook weeping into the banks of dirt. Dense peaks of black, spiced tea brewing over a campfire peppered with smoky wood, burning the seasons last vestiges of greenery, and decaying plant matter.

Dzongkha is warmth and comfort with vibrancy and spicy incense. Although it’s pretty synthetic smelling (leather and iris), it gives the truer scent of cardamom.

This another that I’d take as an ambient spray, and though some may like it year-round, I feel it lends itself to cooler weather.

Note: I’ve had it on for about three hours now, it’s evolved significantly. Iris, iris, and more iris with powdery pleather and cardamom. And soap. My thumbs up has changed to a neutral, iris is not my favorite scent.
09th October, 2020 (last edited: 30th November, 2020)

Mercury by Nu_Be


A headache inducing, 1996-2003, mall boy stench. Like the character Shannon Hamilton from Mallrats, liquid metallic citrus and overly gelled hair-completely synthetic and more than a little queasy. A scrubber, for sure.
09th October, 2020

Vio-Volta by D.S. & Durga

My initial spritz, done at my vanity, was rewarded with a reflection of crinkled up nose and an audible, “UUGGGH!” The acrid stench of rotted violets, fruit, and greenery swirled with alcohol and patched up incense. Synthetic and chemically. Almost immediately, the pungency was replaced with smoky violets, and incensed bonfire. Then I couldn’t stop smelling my wrists. All at once my mind flashed fascination, repugnance, interest, and disgust. It’s a conundrum of a scent. A little burnt, dirty, a hint of sweet floral, chemically alcohol-like cold metal turning humid soil. I won’t be purchasing a bottle because I wouldn’t wear it, but I appreciate it’s unusualness. How strange!

Note: my daughter is repeatedly swatting my arm away, and yelling, “Eeww!” It did turn overly powdery and too synthetic in the deep dry down.
08th October, 2020 (last edited: 09th October, 2020)

Dzing! by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Dense, tufted clouds of smoky incense-like and charred, smoldering oud. Drifting into a series of long abandoned sea caves, thick with the musty dust of time long ago past. Or, for a more modern take, riding the water attraction at an amusement park, waves of excess water splashing into the adjacent petting zoo. There’s a hint of dried down feces, hide, and dampened dirt, straw and sawdust trodden into the earth. It’s rather animalistic in nature, and oddly, not unpleasant. I don’t get a sugar bomb, but there’s a wisp of deep caramelized, wood-fired vanilla candy. This has just enough oddness to keep things interesting, and have me sniffing my shirt and wrists, repeatedly.

Sadly, Dzing! falls flat in the longevity and sillage. It’s mildly weak, fading down to a faint leathery musk, and it stays on the skin and clothes.

Thumbs way up for the weirdness of the scent.
07th October, 2020

Eau Parfumée au Thé Rouge by Bulgari

My decant smelled of red licorice and berries in the vial.
I’m so glad I put it on though.
It starts with a sweetened berry candy scent, quickly developing into a medium depth pepper berry, fruit jam-citrus and fig. I get a rounded floral scent, nothing strong just notable. It’s rich and nutty as well, slightly tannic and a little sharp. Roiboos shines through with its branchy, grounded shrub scent-earthy and herbal. It’s an odd scent, and a little confounding as I can’t quite identify the appeal. Perhaps it’s that Roiboos isn’t tea at all, there’s absolutely no Camellia Sinensis present. Roiboos is an herbaceous plant that's brewed into a tisane. It’s quite a different flavor profile from tea. But, I like it, a lot.
03rd October, 2020

Eau Parfumée au Thé Blanc by Bulgari

Peppery, white musk, woods, and delicate generic flowers. A fresh, piping cup of gently scented white tea. It is a little sweet, yet also dry. Clean and linear, it is definitely safe for work. Au Thé Vert is more enjoyable, in my opinion.
03rd October, 2020

Un Jardin sur la Lagune by Hermès

The artifice of synthetic aroma chemicals ruined this for me. It is reminiscent of baby powder, musk, and alcohol. It smells cheaply made and not at all fitting with the rest of the series. Even though each of the Jardin fragrances have their own nuances, there’s a common aroma that links all of the others together. Sur la Lagune is missing that quality.
I had dreams of a hidden lagoon, rivulets of crystalline droplets trickling down rugged, water slick rock formations. Pooling around lily pads, sea vegetables and grass, water flowers on bed of soft, fine sand and gnarled driftwood. And then I woke up.
03rd October, 2020

Aqua Allegoria Limon Verde by Guerlain

A fresh, dripping glass of balanced lemonade. Crisp and bright citrusy juice and zest, not too sweet nor dry. Soft floral notes gently waft off the skin as they heat on the skin. It’s almost as if delicate flower petals were sprinkled over the surface of the ‘ade. Transparent, but not watered down. It lends itself to warmer weather as the freshness is cooling. Fig was not present, and it is a bit artificial smelling. Oddly, I felt nauseous when wearing so I won’t be getting a bottle for myself. Overall, it is lovely though.
03rd October, 2020

Aqua Allegoria Teazzurra by Guerlain

Going into sampling this fragrance, I was elevated to say the least. No exaggeration, I hyped myself up for this one. I keep searching for great tea fragrances.
I had daydreams of transparent, deliciously herbaceous tea with heaping citrus, light florals, and plenty of greenery.
Sadly, it was so incredibly synthetic and plastic like and the florals were so overpowering, I ended up with a big headache. It was a complete scrubber for me.
I couldn’t get far enough into the development to smell anything specific, except disappointment.
03rd October, 2020

Aqua Allegoria Bergamote Calabria by Guerlain

A sharpened, astringent grapefruit and woody musk. It remains the same throughout, no further development. It smells like a lot of other dry, masculine leaning fragrances. Cardamom is one of my favorite scents, and unfortunately, it didn’t show up. I don’t hate it, but it’s not for me.
03rd October, 2020