I like Kenzo Vintage Edition, also called Peace due to the peace sign on its purple bottle. Sephora calls it a "mixed floral, woody musk" and lists its notes as "Tonka Bean, Vanilla, Heliotrope Flower, Mandarin, Cedar Wood, Musk." I realize it's not very helpful when people say one fragrance smells just like another because if you haven't smelled the referent, the reference is useless. Alas, I am compelled to do it here because it's something of an elephant in the room: Peace is almost a clone of Gap Om, that incensey persimmon-colored juice still available at Gap outlets. Which is to say, I love it. The key difference, to my nose anyway, is that Peace hits a point in its drydown where something very much like vetiver pops out and turns sour on the (my) skin--this is a problem I always have with vetiver, so YMMV. My overall impression of Peace is that it's more androgynous, even masculine, than Om, at least until the drydown, at which point it smooths out and clings to the skin as a softly smoky woody musk that would smell delicious on women and men alike. I don't know if it contains incense or patchouli but I detect traces of both, along with cool anise in the far drydown. This is a limited edition scent for 2008, so if you end up loving it, consider Gap Om as a backup.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Lostmarch Lann-Ael Eau de Toilette
WinterWheat 7/31/2008 7:54:00 PM
My first impression upon spritzing Lann Ael on my skin was that it is the love child of Joop All About Eve and CSP Amour de Cacao, not because it contains any cocoa but because it features the sweet apple note of All About Eve alongside the salty-sweet biscuit accord in Amour de Cacao, the same accord that reminds me of the cookie tucked inside a Twix bar. I held my arm to my 2-year-old's nose and she said, "It's like a cracker." Later she specified: "a graham cracker." DH smelled it and said, "It smells like popcorn. No--it smells like all the foods that they peddle in Assembly Hall before a basketball game." (I'm assuming he's not counting the hotdogs.) Curiously enough, I like the biscuity part best, so naturally it would fade away within minutes, leaving the same overly sweet, synthetic, shampoo-like apple note (actually, it reminds me of Nexxus Humectress) that accounts for the fact that All About Eve has graced my perfume display for 4 years and still isn't empty. Then, thirty minutes after applying Lann Ael, the apple note too has faded away. :-(
I love Hibiscus. It looks frighteningly dark in the tube, but like the other Glossimers applies sheer, which means you end up with lightly berry-stained lips. The online color swatch looks deep magenta, but the actual color is neutral berry with the faintest touch of golden sparkle. I actually like this best applied thickly and then blotted; it seems to amp up my natural lip color, making me look flushed and healthy. The color also takes well to various liners, from taupe to nude to pink to red to brown. Nude liner and a thin layer of Hibuscus, blotted, produces delicately pink lips. Dark taupe or berry liner and a thick layer of Hibiscus produces vampy disco lips. It's fun to have a gloss that's so versatile.
Gorgeous blush, the color of roses and cinnamon sticks pounded together. Like NARS Crazed, it's sheer but intensely pigmented so you're safest with a skunk brush. My skin is light-medium olive, and Dolce Vita gives me a completely natural sun- and wind-induced flush. I also love that fact that it doesn't contain pearl or glitter elements. That's fun at times, but sometimes you want something classic and natural. This blush looks fabulous with lips lined with MAC Spice (which is, incidentally, described on the MAC site as "pink cinnamon stick") and filled in with NARS Dolce Vita lipstick. The entire combination makes my teeth look very white. I read somewhere that the ideal blush and lipstick color for most people is the color of their gums, or just a shade deeper, and for me Dolce Vita fits the bill.
My lips but better -- way better. Love the texture; it "sticks" to the lips and keeps them moisturized, although if they start out dry it doesn't add much moisture, so be sure to begin with moisturized lips. Dolce Vita is an incredibly versatile color; pair it with different liners to create a wide array of pinks. The color is sheer and makes lips look lush and just-bitten. I love it with MAC Spice liner; the effect is deep, succulent pink. The warmth in the color -- it's just on the warm side of neutral -- looks beautiful on my olive skin. What a fabulous find!
I bought Hay Moon unsniffed and my first impression upon receiving it was panic: pure soap. Thankfully the soapiness evaporated (mostly) and the scent changed remarkably within 10 minutes. The golden, faintly sweet drydown reminds me of POTL Luctor et Emergo, Caron Farnesiana, and other scents of that ilk. It contains no almond but comes across as a dry, austere almond-heliotrope scent. A touch of soapiness remains, so Hay Moon ends up smelling like this type of scent made into a hand soap. I normally dislike soapiness in perfumes, but it's bearable here. Notes include hay absolute, tall grasses, dry honey, mallow, cardamom, amber, and wheat. I haven't had much success with BPAL scents over the years; most of them strike me as jagged and discordant. Hay Moon is much smoother and more seamless than most POTLs. A great second-skin scent for those who want to smell warm but freshly scrubbed -- and next to the skin is where it stays (little sillage).
What an interesting scent. I received the EDP from escentual.co.uk today, and immediately doused myself. The opening was offputtingly sharp, like blackberry stems bleeding acidic green tomato-leaf juice: everything I ordinarily dislike about "red fruits" as a note/accord in perfumes. Sharp as a pin. Fortunately that faded within 10 minutes, leaving a pleasantly soft baby-lotion scent with a regrettable soapiness. The soapiness too faded after about 1/2 hour, leaving a very agreeable final drydown of milky berries and cocoa powder. If you've ever tried Fresh's Milk line of soaps and lotions -- in particular the Milk - Chocolate scent -- you'll recognize a cousin in Eau de Charlotte. Great for summer, when you want something soft and comforting but still clean.
I've tried the EDT. I've tried the EDP. I've tried the parfum. I've given it my best shot... and I still can't overcome my initial impression of Mitsouko: nicotine sweat. I'll stick to L'Heure Bleue.
Horror film fans: ever wonder what perfume the Blair Witch would have worn? This is it. Spooky. Dark. Damp. Spices and wet wood. Less cerebral, more primal than its cultured cousin Messe de Minuit. Marescialla means mace in Italian, and I don't know whether Italians use the word in its other sense -- pepper spray -- but one could probably use Marescialla to the same effect. I love it but find it too intense to wear. I'd be very intrigued, though, if I smelled it on someone else. Interesting tidbit: After writing this review I went to the SMN site and found this description: "This unusual perfume was created by a French noblewoman, the Countess D'Aumont, wife of a Marshal of France, who used it to scent her gloves. It is said that because of her interest in alchemy, she was charged with witchcraft and burned at the stake." So there you have it.
Beautiful, airy, fresh-yet-complex iris, for all of about 30 minutes. Then: iris-scented soap. Sigh.
Yes, this is Musc Ravageur Redux. I don't care. It wears beautifully and elicits deliriously sincere compliments from women and men alike. Don't expect a big hit of labdanum; this is a warm skin musk that floats around its wearer like a golden halo. I love my Musc Ravageur but I think Labdanum 18 is even more wearable.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Bois 1920 Agrumi Amari di Sicilia
WinterWheat 4/25/2008 9:43:00 PM
There's something wrong about being the first to review a fragrance and not giving it 5 lippies. I apologize. The trouble is, I had high hopes for Agrumi Amari, and they were dashed. I'd heard that it was lemony and bright and fresh and not too sweet, the last of which was a major factor in my wish to try it. But some things (in this case nonsweetness) can be taken too far. Have you ever smelled citric acid crystals? Me neither -- but this is how I imagine they smell. No sweetness -- not an iota -- to offset the pure astringent vitamin-C salicylic acid low score on the litmus test laser beam zing of Agrumi Amari. Ouch. If you've ever tried -- and shunned because of its excessive astringency -- Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune, beware Agrumi Amari di Sicilia. If, on the other hand, you ate Sour Patch Kids by the handful as a child, and wished they were LESS sweet, and asked for second helpings of sauerkraut whenever it was served, this might be the scent for you.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Bois 1920 Classic 1920
WinterWheat 4/25/2008 7:00:00 PM
This was my most exciting fragrance find of spring 2008. Classic 1920 contains notes of Chinese citron, Haitian vetiver, Antilles sandalwood, and amber, but it's not masculine, nor even androgynous. It's 100% feminine, in the way that genuinely pretty women are feminine: earthy, warm, and exuberant in spirit. This scent straddles lines: it's lighthearted yet serious, bright yet soft, ethereal yet grounded. I suspect that there are many floral notes in the blend, because it has the charisma of a citrus-heavy floriental... but in the way of classic European perfumes, the whole is so well blended that I find it hard to identify individual notes. It does have the most gorgeous fresh-grassy-patchouli drydown, many hours after application, after most of the other notes have disappeared. I might call it a "fresh" floriental because it's much more transparent than typical florientals. But oh, it's just so PRETTY. Charisma, charisma, charisma. My 2-year-old daughter's reaction sealed the deal. We play a game called "delicious or disgusting," and I held my wrist to her nose and asked for her verdict. She inhaled deeply, declared "DELICIOUS," and then repeated "Smell Mommy's arm, smell Mommy's arm." I bought a full bottle for about $100 at parfum1.com. UPDATE: Now that I've experienced the full spray from the bottle (rather than a few dabs from a vial), I love this even more. One MUAer told me she'd heard it smelled a bit like CKOne, and I can see the resemblance, but only upon application. Within 15 minutes Classic 1920 assumes its own warm, rounded, feminine character. It's the perfect summer scent for people who love the idea of citrus during the summer but find most citrus scents to be too sharp or thin.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Eau d'Italie - Bois d'Ombrie
WinterWheat 4/14/2008 10:02:00 PM
I do not understand why this doesn't get more love on the boards. A top-flight iris if I've ever smelled one. Love iris and want to get your man a dude-friendly iris? This is it. Love iris and don't have or want a dude to scent? This is still it: wear it yourself. In contrast to airy, ethereal iris scents (which are lovely in their own right), Bois d'Ombrie is an iris with guts: whiskey, damp woods, dried leaves, and incense lend the impression of freshly unearthed orris roots amid soil made fertile by a recent forest fire: the perfect scent for a rainy November.
This is about as close to an HG violet as I've found. It starts out pleasantly (not cloyingly) candylike, and as other reviewers have noted, there is an almondy accord that accentuates the violet in the most unexpected and delightful way. I've tried many violet scents, and this one starts out sweet but not nearly as sweet as, say, Calypso Violette. Within 15 minutes some green notes emerge, and I'm reminded very much of the sweet-sour-fizzy cedar-violet combo in KM Genie des Bois. I like the first 20 minutes better than the drydown, where the sour notes are a little too prominent for my taste. They do cut the sweetness of the violet, so I think they're necessary, but perhaps with a *tad* less concentration.