Fragrances -L'Artisan Fragrances - Les Epices de la Passion - Gold Philtre
smellslikeleaves 11/28/2005 10:26:00 PM
Saffron, sandalwood, vanilla. This much loved fragrance originally from L'artisan's spice trio is the only one of the three which has not been released in a stand-alone bottle. Although many MUA-ers are trying to change this, I won't be one to participate in the effort. Saffron is a note which rarely works on my skin, and Safran Troublant is not the exception. While I get a hint of a gorgeous vanilla sandalwood fragrance, this is ruined by the saffron, which evokes a sweaty, unwashed body odor. I will award an extra lipstick for both lasting power (over 6 hours, much better than my favorite from the trio, Poivre Piquant), as well as the originality of the fragrance. But needless to say, it's not for me.
Fragrances -L'Artisan Fragrances - Les Epices de la Passion - White Philtre
smellslikeleaves 11/28/2005 10:18:00 PM
This fragrance, originally part of a spice trio set, is now available in a stand-alone bottle. When I first tried the three L'artisan spice fragrances, this one was my immediate favorite. I re-tried the fragrance again today, and once again, I very much liked it immediately after spraying. I got a wonderful, piquant, spicy white pepper note, as well as a bit of dirty wood (I'm not sure where this comes from, since it's not listed amongst the notes). It struck me as a much lighter version of another L'artisan fragrance, Timbuktu. As the softness of milk and honey blurred the sharp edges of pepper in the drydown, the fragrance became intriguingly refined and elegant. I didn't detect any anise. If the lasting power were decent, I would snap this one up in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, it completely vanishes by the fourth hour post-spray, and I can't bring myself to spend $75+ on a fragrance with such poor lasting power. Le sigh.
I'm new to the Montale line, but I'm impressed with the ones I've tried so far. Oud Damascus is a stunning, complex rose fragrance which quickly won my heart. It started off quite dirty and woody, then sweetened with the drydown as the gorgeous damascus rose note became more prominent. The rose note is sparkling and very slightly powdery, and reminds me of Keiko Mecheri Damascena, one of my favorite girly rose fragrances. The oud note is fabulously dark and brooding, adding a wonderful, almost spiritual complexity. It reminds me a bit of SL Rose de Nuit, with its rather sexy interpretation of rose, as well as Diptyque Opone, though thankfully without the sweaty body odor note. If you're a fan of unusual, edgy rose fragrances, then this is definitely one to check out. Lasting power is great--I can still clearly smell this on my hand more than 6 hours after application. However, the price is definitely prohibitive for me--$210 for 3.4 oz at aedes.com. Ah well. Hopefully the line will still be around when I can afford it. In any case, I can't wait to try the other fragrances in the line, particularly the ouds.
This is a soft, pretty tiare fragrance, which smells of gardenia and a hint of coconut. It's intensely feminine, and as opposed to many other tropical fragrances, it's light, green, and delicate rather than dramatic and lush (despite the "Intense" in the name). If you were to compare it Kai and Monyette, it would fall somewhere in the middle of those two--less green and creamier than Kai, but greener and less creamy than Monyette. I agree that this is a decent replacement for the dearly departed CSP original Tiare, however Intense Tiare is blander to my nose. CSP Tiare was a guilty pleasure of mine, and I love how lush and deep and overtly tropical it was. Intense Tiare is much more restrained. To draw a comparison, CSP Tiare was like a coconut bra and grass skirt and lei all together, whereas Montale Intense Tiare is a pretty but conservative tropical-print dress which reveals no midriff or thighs. If you're looking for a tiare which is ladylike and sweet, the Montale will do the trick. However, I prefer my tropical fragrances to be less refined, and more blatant, and thus will continue to search for my CSP Tiare replacement. Lasting power is excellent at over 6 hours.
I loathe Angel. So I was very nervous about trying this one, since it supposedly had similar notes. But a very generous person (*waves to Sofya*) bestowed a sample on me, and of course I could not resist trying it. Surprise! I like it very much. For the first couple of seconds it's bitter and medicinal, but warms very quickly to a beautiful, rugged, earthy patchouli. Keep in mind that I'm no patchouli lover, and avoided patchouli for years after my terrible experience with Angel. The patchouli in this fragrance is not at all bitter or dirty; it's soft, warm, and inviting, and actually reminds me of one of the few other patchouli fragrances I enjoy, Vanille by Des Filles a la Vanille. The patchouli note is soon joined by an incredible, mouth-watering dark chocolate note which kicks the ass of almost every other chocolate note I've experienced in fragrance. It's definitely not sweet and milky, like the one in Serendipitous, nor is it powdery and Cocoa Puffs-esque, like the one in CSP Amour de Cacao. The chocolate note in this fragrance is very dry and sophisticated. A stunning, resinous woody note adds depth to the drydown, along with a gentle touch of flowers and spice. This is a terrific example of the rare elegant gourmand fragrance which avoids sickening sweetness, but still manages to be warm and comforting. It's smooth and impeccably blended, without the loudly blaring quality of other similar fragrances (such as, *ahem*, Angel). However, if other people smell something like Borneo when they smell Angel, then I totally understand why Angel has such a devoted following. As much as I enjoy this fragrance, I don't anticipate reaching for it very often, so I'll probably fondly use up my sample without any anticipation of purchasing it. Besides, I'm already intent on purchasing Tubereuse Criminelle, Rose de Nuit, and, if I can make enough money doing mime on the street, Cuir Mauresque the next time I'm in Paris. Borneo, you're deliciously charming and all, but you'll probably have to wait a long time before a bottle of you finds a place on my dresser.
Fragrances -Elizabeth Arden - Fantasy Britney spears
smellslikeleaves 9/18/2005 8:40:00 PM
To my surprise, this was actually pretty nice. Yes, it's sweet and girly, but miraculously I don't find it cloying or sour or too saccharine, like most fragrances of this ilk. I remember Spears saying that her new fragrance would smell like "milk and cookies," but this smells more like fruit punch and cookies. It actually smells like the sticky hands of a nursery school child. Maybe it's my ticking biological clock which has left me gooey-eyed at the sight of babies lately, but I find this fragrance very pleasant and comforting. The lasting power is surprisingly decent, too...it's still very much present after 6 hours. I also did not find this fragrance to be very similar to Pink Sugar, which was pure cotton candy and far too sweet and juvenile for me. Despite its charms, though, Fantasy is quite simple and linear, and I just know that I'd tire of it very quickly. Like that dim-witted cute guy with whom you'd enjoy a fling...but you know there's not enough depth for a long-term relationship. Yep. Oh, and the bottle? Hideous. Tacky beyond belief. Like a 7 year old girl's idea of what a perfume bottle should be. Maybe that's what prevents me from buying this. (Well, its association with Britney Spears may be part of the problem too.) I won't make any grand proclaimations yet, though...in a weak moment, I could see myself caving on this one. Le sigh.
This is a delicious, deep, edible fragrance with prominent notes of rose, amber, and vanilla. It actually reminds me quite a bit of IPdF's Ambra del Nepal, with the same cuddly effect, but sexier, showier. Ambra del Nepal is a woman in a cashmere turtleneck, while Chanel Allure Sensuelle is a woman naked except for a cashmere blanket. According to the press release, this fragrance is supposed to have six facets--Oriental, fresh, floral, fruity, woody and spicy--including notes of pink pepper, patchouli, incense, and vetiver. It's mostly an oriental spicy vanilla fragrance on me; I don't find it to be "fresh" at all, and the fruity-floral notes which strongly characterize Allure and Coco Mademoiselle are very faint. Since I grew tired of Coco Mlle's unnerving resemblance to fruit punch, this pleases me. I do need to mention that the EdP is extremely strong. When I first tried this fragrance, I sprayed it a couple of inches away from my arm (which is normally fine for most fragrances I try). The result was overbearingly strong, and I disliked it immediately for being too "perfumey" in a gag-inducing way which recalled Angel, or the heavy 80's fragrances. However, I loved how it smelled on my arm the next day (the lasting power is phenomenal). When I retried it today, I held the sprayer at least a foot away from my arm, and the application was perfect--not too strong at all. Of the modern Chanels, I think that this one may be my favorite. I'll likely end up with a bottle before the end of the year.
This starts off with a nice gardenia note, then dries down to a fruity floral woody musk which smells a bit plasticky and sour. Not bad; I expected worse from Kimora! However, it's just not my thing. Unfortunately the lasting power is very poor--it's gone by 2 hours. The bottle is also hideously tacky...and not in an amusing, tongue-in-cheek, interesting way (like Moschino's I Love Love bottle). It's just ugly.
This creation by Olivia Giacobetti is a bizarre and quirky fragrance which is way off the beaten path. It starts with a lion's roar: strong rubber and leather notes, garnished with a touch of sawdust. I haven't been to an animal circus since I was a little girl and don't recall much about circus odors, so the topnotes of Dzing! smell more like an industrial wasteland to me. After about ten minutes, the rubber and leather soften to reveal the surprisingly faint drydown of cinnamon, vanilla, resins, and woods. This phase is subtle, elegant, and gourmand. It actually reminds me of the cinnamon-dusted Snickerdoodle cookies I picked up at the Almish farmer's market during nerd camp summers in Lancaster, PA. It also has the softness of how I imagine lion's fur would feel and smell (if it were clean). Unfortunately, the lasting power is quite poor on me; after a couple of hours, I can barely detect anything at all on my wrist. This is a highly evocative fragrance with much wonder and humor. While I'm not a huge fan of odors which the fragrance tries to evoke (except for the Snickerdoodles), I nonetheless enjoy the artistry behind its creation. It's one of those fragrances which is so distinctive that it would make a fabulous signature scent for the right person. I'm not that person, but I'm glad that this fragrance is on the market for her.
I figured that I'd wait until my next trip to Paris to finally try this, but an extremely generous lady (*waves to cristaline*) sent me a sample to satisfy my curiosity. With great anticipation, I dabbed a bit of Tubereuse Criminelle on my wrist...and whoa, talk about anti-climactic. Where was the skunk, the rubber, the gasoline? All I smelled was toothpaste (similar to the toothpaste smell of Serge Lutens Datura Noir on me) and Tiger Balm ointment. This was the much-touted menthol opening, which was not offensive so much as medicinal and strange. I was all set to be deeply disappointed, when a few minutes later I noticed the most heartbreakingly beautiful white floral notes wafting up to my nose. I'd never smelled real tuberose, and only know the scent through its use in fragrance. I was not a big tuberose fan--it often struck me as too buttery (L'artisan), too heady and aggressive (Fracas), or too sweet and cloyingly feminine (Caron, although it's quite beautiful). But this tuberose was different--slightly green, brightened with orange blossom (one of my favorite notes), creamy, gauzy, grounded with whisper-soft vanilla, spices, and woods. Applied lightly, it's insinuous and gets under your skin, but it's not in-your-face loud and brash (like Fracas). It's simultaneously badass, vulnerable, exquisite, and a little bit unhinged...like Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde (not just because of the "Criminelle" in its name). Is this fragrance "me"? Oh yes. I've always preferred art which is a little bit ugly--to add complexity, to offer a challenge, to better approximate reality, to prompt me to question the meaning of its beauty. Polished, cookie-cutter, conventional beauty bores me to tears. Tubereuse Criminelle is just about the most unconventional, unboring floral I've ever tried. The next time I'm in Paris, I'm getting a big honking bottle of this, so I can wear it as much as possible.
Ghastly. If I hadn't seen the bottle, I would have assumed it was Mary Kate and Ashley or some cheap drugstore scent. Sour, harsh, and cloying with a lot of grapefruit. For the preteen set only.
Unfortunately, I'm going to end up bringing down the rating of this fragrance. It gets an extra lipstick for the warm, rich, spicy/herbal topnotes which are soon joined by a melange of pretty florals. But there's something in the sickly sweet, powdery, vanillic drydown, perhaps the tolu, perhaps the frankincense, which nauseates me. I've had issues with frankincense before, such as in Passage d'Enfer and 10 Corso Como, so that's the likely culprit. I tried Tolu in high summer, when it was especially unbearable, but it's probably much more tolerable in the fall/winter. Lasting power is about average at 4-5 hours.
Fragrances -Comptoir Sud Pacifique - Vanille Peche/Peach
smellslikeleaves 8/1/2005 11:05:00 PM
Egads, this was awful. I felt bad for making the Sephora SA open up a new package since there was no tester on the shelf, only to discover that I loathed it. I'm a huge fan of peach fragrances, but this smells incredibly artificial, almost rancid. There was something about it which made me think of fake peach smelling feminine hygiene products. It smells like heavy duty cleansing powder which is supposed to mask nasty smells, but unfortunately contributes to the nastiness. Ick. CSP continues its spiral downwards since the sellout.
Like some of the other reviewers, I found Lovely to be very similar to Narciso Rodriguez. Lovely is a bit cooler, a bit soapier, a bit fresher as compared to the warm, lush sensuality of the NR Egyptian Musk. I worry that Lovely might turn quickly, because the two bottles I tried at Nordstrom had a nasty sour alcohol edge when first spritzed, which gradually faded, leaving behind a soapy musk with a bit of lavender and woods. I already own NR Musc for her, which I prefer by far to Lovely. However, if I hadn't already splurged on the NR, this would have have been a decent cheapie substitute. For a celebrity fragrance, this is definitely better than most of the generic fruity florals. SJP, you did OK.
While I was never a big fan of the Creed fragrances (except for the hauntingly poetic Angelique Encens), I had exhausted most of the other fragrance counters during my frequent trips to Saks 5th Avenue (a stone's throw away from where I lived in New York City). So, with a shrug, I walked up to the Creed counter there and asked the sales assistant which ones she liked. She said her first favorite was Millesime Imperial (ick), her second favorite was Neroli Sauvage (ick), and her third favorite was Fantasia de Fleur (hmm, ok, let's try it on my skin). She spritzed, and oh. my. goodness. I got the butterflies, like I had just been kissed out of the blue by a guy who intrigued and charmed me. I also felt dainty and incredibly feminine, but not in a cloying or insipid way. I never cared for aggressively feminine floral fragrances with a retro feel, particularly the very powdery ones such as Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose or Caron N'Aimez Que Moi. Fantasia de Fleur is a version of that kind of fragrance, a retro uber-feminine floral with just a touch of powder, which somehow works beautifully on my skin. It evokes the scent of porcelain and paper touched with rose-scented powder, as well as velvety soft iris, sultry osmanthus, and musk (which doesn't have that metallic sourness which I usually attribute to the musky Creed base). Since my taste in clothes has run less androgynous and more retro girly/ruffly as of late, this fragrance is a perfect accessory for my current style. It's so confident in its femininity--it's not a bashful sideways glance, or an embarrassed giggle hidden by fingers. It's a knowing stare fringed by lush lashes, slightly parted lips, and loose curls, belying the innocence of a sheer, delicately ruffled dress which accentuates the curves but shows little skin. It lasts and lasts on me (I could still smell it on my wrist the following day). For now I have my little decant, but if I ever use that up, you'd best believe I'd be getting myself a bottle. This fragrance feels like a flirtier, sexier, more overtly feminine, more knowing version of myself. It's a persona I'd like to revisit again and again.