Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Providence Perfume Co Cocoa Tuberose
ayala 1/7/2013 6:19:00 PM
Cocoa Tuberose is one of the sexiest perfumes I've tried in a while, and although the name might imply a very girly scent - I know it would smell fantastic on both men and women. It appeals to a very grown-up, refined taste and is well-balanced and satisfying, like a square of smooth woody-floral dark chocolate. The tuberose is creamy, smooth and a little vegetal - don't expect a hit in your face by a diva floral! The chocolate is used very subtly as in the expert hand of a chef who just wants an accent of cacao in a savoury dish. Nutty vetiver comes forth, and plays a duet with powdery, caramel-like tonka bean. Despite the depth and complexity of these distinctive, opposing notes are seamlessly blended in such way that not only do they not overpower one another, but also create a new harmony that is unexpectedly savoury rather than decadent.
Fragrances -Prada - Prada Amber Pour Homme Intense
ayala 9/14/2012 12:59:00 AM
Prada Ambre Intense Pour Homme begins like a mist of citrus peel with florals thrown in the mix - the familiar crystalline feel of bergamot, and some tangering and orange. Non of which is strong enough, of course, to cover up the brownie, chocolatey, delicious earthiness that's lurking underneath. First comes amber, with a load of benzoin; then the bergamot makes a second entrance, only to be pushed away by a clean, woody patchouli that almost smells like cedar. The amber and patchouli remain the main components for the next three hours, feeling a little too crystalline and transparent to my taste at first; but becoming more bold and dominant and deep, with only sandalwood occasionally making some white noise, and vanilla that is almost chocolatey and edible. Lastly, a familiar note of vetiver joins in and adds an extra layer of wood that is clean, elegant and delightful. Prada Ambre Intense Pour Homme has a long and clumsy name, but it's well constructed, with a structure similar to the great Shalimars of the past, and could be easily worn by both men and women, as long as they go hiking with it.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Ineke Floral Curiosities Sweet William
ayala 8/29/2012 6:10:00 AM
Sweet William opens with fresh balsamic peppery notes that reminded me of another favourite - Si Lolita. It is, however, more dusky and violetty than the latter. Carnation accord being the centre of attention, with complementary strokes of ionones, redolent of candied violets and accompanied by velvety cedar (a wink to Evening Edged in Gold, which also had a rich cedar, fruit and spice accord), which give it a purplish hue and a slightly serious, almost regal personality. The base notes are those of rich woodsy patchouli and powdery musk, which dries down to a clean, dry patchouli and white musk notes. It is not in the least overpowering, but has an incredible staying power and stays on even after a swim and a shower, with slightly berry like musky notes. Ineke's soliflore treatment is modern, abstract and rather than just dissecting and replicating Sweet William, she's created a stylized impression of this carnation's particularly sweet-spicy-velvety personality (other carnations have a slightly rosy-green aspect that you won't find in here), and create a memorable scent from an otherwise low-key, modest flower.
In reality, Santal de Mysore is a savoury perfume interpretation of garam masala, and with a French take. And by that I mean - it has cumin in it. When I was in an Indian restaurant in Grasse (Sothern France), the food was completely free of spices, except it had tomato sauce and cumin, which was supposed to be the adventurous, exotic part of the dish. It stays rather linear - with the spices and woodsy, resinous notes of immortelle, turmeric and cumin slowly fading away, with the only spice missing being shallots and perhaps some asafoetaida. There are only hints and suggestions of other ambery and woodsy components such as vanilla-like benzoin, dry wood and cistus. And all along, alpha ionone is casting its dark, shadowy candied woodchips and crystallized violet notes, which became the trademark of the Serge Lutens brand ever since Feminite du Bois. Santal de Mysore has more to it than just cumin, thankfully; but cumin and immortelle are certainly more dominant than sandalwood - that is for certain. Its charm lies in creating an "Arabie Lite" (and if you've read this blog from its very beginning, you'll know that I love Arabie) - not nearly as dense and dark as Arabie, as if the spices have left the mysterious souk and are already laid out on a plate with a steaming bowl of rice and naan on the side. This is a classic example of "get a sample first". Because of the train ride association, and because it is an exotic yet soothing, warm scent - I enjoy wearing it very much. But for a far more intriguing spice mix, reminiscent of cold tamarind and dusty cobble stone streets, I will reach for Arabie; and for my sandalwood fix, I will have to look elsewhere. Perhaps in Vanuatu.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Sonoma Scent Studio - Forest Walk
ayala 8/29/2012 6:03:00 AM
Forest Walk unfolds with many phases, always revealing a different aspect of the forest: a branch there, a leaf there, and oh - have you noticed this patch of wild violets over there? It's like a walk in a warm, needle-covered forest in summer (except, perhaps, for the violet patch), with oak trees and hanging moss adding a dry, tannin quality. As the perfume develops on the skin further, the strange wet earth note dissipates, the Western red cedar softens and shifts to the background, and give way to deeper, earthier notes of many natural essences that I'm not only familiar with but also extremely fond of: labdanum and oakmoss with their brown, comforting warmth; black hemlock absolute (which I smelled at Laurie's studio for the first time - it's similar to pine needle absolute, less sweet and more dry-woody conifer absolute - where as fir (which is also present in this composition) takes on an extremely sweet, jam-like character. Other woodsy notes also add mystery and lasting power: New Caledonian sandalwood, aged Indian patchouli. The labdanum intensifies over time on my skin, giving a rich ambery foundation to the rather rustic experience of hiking in the forest on a hot summer day and collecting needles in your hair and clothing after sitting down in a forest clearing to relax a bit, skin all salty and warm from the mild excursion. The final dryout is woody yet smooth on my skin, with ambery-resinous notes amplifying (which is to be expected on my skin, it tends to make the sweeter notes grow), and only bare hints of sandalwood and patchouli. Interestingly, on Lisa's skin, the dry woodsy notes, including the red cedar, were far more apparent, and the "wet earth" facet lasted for far longer period of time. A living proof for the mysteries of differences between skin-chemistry.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Ineke Hothouse Flower
ayala 8/29/2012 6:00:00 AM
Hothouse Flower is rather light for the big floral that it represents. It is very long lasting, however, with lingering light floral notes and clean musk and hints of greenery, not unlike the dryout of Balmy Days and Sundays. he top notes are light and etheral, with hints of green crushed leaves and tea. It quickly unfolds into the more fruity aspects, reminiscent of butter and hints of pink bubblegum, as if the gardenia princess wakes up from a salicylic nap, and gives you a naughty wink to remind us of her lineage (Fracas et al) - than rolls to the other side, waiting for her customary breakfast-in-bed to appear. The wake up calls arrives soon enough, with cool, dewy leaves and the green. Brisk yet resinous notes of galbanum, cypress and frankincense emerge, and take the edge of whatever you might have thought was too flowery. Notes (according to Ineke's press release) include rather unusual pairings for gardenia: earl grey tea, green foliage, cypress, absinthe, gardenia, galbanum, fig, frankincense, guaiacwood, musk and corn silk.
Reminiscent of fragrant twigs and freshly soaped skin, l'Été en Douce is light and ethereal and I find it wears better on fabric than on my skin. On fabric it unfolds with the subtle honey nuances of linden and orange blossom with hints of petitgrain; where as on skin, the clean "white musks" and synthetic "white woods" notes are taking over. And there is also an underlining bitterness, reminiscent of almonds but not quite - the mark of coumarin (hay is listed among the notes, but there is non of its delicious sweetness, so I think it's just coumarin - adorable all the same, but just a little flatter).
What this perfume does is highlight this floral absolute's qualities. Instead of pretending to be anything else, it expands on the darker qualities of pink lotus, without making it any more “pink” in personality than wearing black mascara would do to make the lips appear redder. Other complex florals help brighten the beginning of Pink Lotus, making it more palatable than it would have been on its own – jasmine, rose and ylang ylang, and also bright citrus notes of bitter orange and the floral nuances of bergamot, which goes nicely with a hint of pepper. I'm also smelling a whisper of resin in the background - perhaps opoponax or myrrh. Although antique sandalwood is one of the main ingredients listed on the Aftelier website, I am not smelling it on my own skin. But soon enough, oakmoss brings out the murky characteristics of this strange absolute, which points to the roots of this sacred plant – one that has its feet in the dirty, dark water of decay, and which transforms itself into a thing of beauty with a thousand petals.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Aftelier Parfum de Maroc
ayala 8/29/2012 5:51:00 AM
The magic of spice mixtures is mingling the familiar with the foreign, and dissecting its aromatic components is part of its charm. The familiarity of citrus welcomes you first with bitter orange – tart and invigorating, along with freshly grated black pepper. Galangal, however, brings the exotic into the bouquet of top notes, and while similar to ginger, it brings with it an edgy warmth. Homely cinnamon brings us back to familiar grounds; yet jasmine vines crawl upwards as the spices progress, and with intoxicating nutmeg make it venture back into the exotic. The rose is far more muted than I have expected, but it is there, bringing soft harmony to the sharpness of some of the spices, and lingering towards the base notes, where aromatic cardamom absolute and resinous myrrh reign.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Aftelier - Secret Garden
ayala 8/29/2012 2:17:00 AM
From the first moment till the last, Secret Garden smells to me more of an indoors perfume. The scent that a person locked up in a secret room may be dreaming of if they’ve never smelled fresh air of a garden before. It’s the perfume they would sprinkle over red-painted thistle to imitate a living rose, only to wake up to the sound of a rusty key in the door that will announce the next hot meal. The perfume would be a condolence for their soul, wrapped in sleek silk and brocade cloths, yet trapped in a wheelchair and worse of all - social restrictions and prejudice. Secret Garden parfum opens with spicy-warm and nutty notes of cloves and patchouli (although, the Aftelier website states that the spices are only “phantoms” – illusions that arise from the mingling of the other notes) and a robust, rounded berry and fruity notes of raspberry jam, blood orange juice and antique roses. The spicy aspect of roses is intensified with the presence of patchouli and greenish geraniol (an intensely rosy-smelling isolate – present in both rose and geranium). Dark castoreum further intensifies the spicy impression, but with such depth and quirkiness redolent of old crackled leather armchairs that you’d find in a dark study of an old English house. Indole – from both jasmine and civet – is another important component in this perfume, adding to the jam-like qualities of the raspberry and blending seamlessly with the other elements, which include elusive blue lotus (which has a sheer, watery quality that is out of this world). The indole is played very quietly though, more of a thread through the perfume rather than a definite presence. The perfume fades quietly and slowly, in an elongated diminuendo distributed evenly between its components, though the last to depart is in fact the raspberry, and sweet-powdery vanilla absolute.
I've read nothing about Iris Ganache before trying it, but apparently the name alone set me up for disappointment. I was really hoping for a creamy, sweet Guerlain iris. What I got was a scrubber that at first reminded me (quite fondly, I may add) of Gaultier Classique and than turned into Angel meets Insolence. A deadly combination. Although not as "in-your-face" as the last powerhouse pair, Iris Ganache was still a scrubber. And I rarely use the term for any perfume: Persistent, cloying, overwhelmingly synthetic and chokingly sweet. I love Guerlain but their latest releases are for the most part a far cry from what they used to be. Even their other iris scent - Iris Fig - which started promising ended up with that persistent modernized Guerlinade that just hammers your nostrils until you can't anymore and must run to the sink to wash it off.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Private Reserve - Peluche
ayala 5/19/2008 3:31:00 PM
Got a sample of this in a swap and didn't know much about it before than. Peluche nostalgically reminds me of my grandmother's Bath Oren bubble bath and is just as piney and balsamic, also with some soapiness at first and than more resinous (labdanum, olibanum). Although it begins invitingly familiar, there is something cheap and harsh about it which made me want to wash it off. Just too strong for me to even wait for the dry down (had to wash it off after an hour of wearing).
Un Jardin Après la Mousson stroke me at first as yet another peppery-dry Elena scent (similar to recent creations, such as Osmanthe Yunnan, Paprika Brazil and Kelly Caleche). It seemed indistinct in that context for the first 2 seconds. And than came a surprise (well, not quite surprising because earlier reviews of the scent suggested note in that direction; yet still the effect was quite strange): this is neither watermelon nor melon, but rather – a ripe, juicy cantaloupe. Think of what it would smell like if you were just popping a fresh slice of Trident’s Watermelon Twist sugarfree gum into your mouth while spraying Omsanthe Yunnan all over yourself and you’ll understand just exactly what I’m talking about (Alternatively, try Bvlgari’s Eau Parfumee Au The Vert, if you can’t get a hold of Osmanthe Yunnan for this curious experiment). Like so many of Elena’s creations, Un Jardin Après la Mousson can be described as sparse, sheer, thin, gauze or veil-like and abstract. If you are not a fan of this style or approach you probably will not enjoy it very much. As much as I try to appreciate scents like that (and grew to be able to enjoy them for my personal use on several occasions), I find it very foreign to me and my flamboyant and dramatic Mediterranean upbringing. Something in me always searches for something deeper at the root of the scent; and in Elena’s perfumes I can’t find that, which results in me feeling like I’m hanging in mid-air like a big question mark awaiting and answer that will never come.
After long procrastination, I have finally got my hands on some samples of Rich Hippie’s perfumes, thanks to a kind swapper via MUA. While Utopia left me only slightly uplifted (notes of yuzu do that to you) from my current state; and Nirvana left me bored – Wild Thing was the one to grab my attention, instantly (and no, it was not because of its steep price point). Wild Thing is as close as a natural perfume ever got to Patou’s infamous “Joy” (at its time bearing slogan “the most expensive perfume in the world”). But the two have more in common than their price. They both celebrate the luscious beauty of jasmine and rose. In Wild Thing, there is hardly anything else (a little bit of citrus, and a very subtle orris note). The rose almost gets lost in the bush of sultry, penetrating jasmine. The indole is intoxicating and beautiful. Wild thing is rich (not in a monetary way) but not overpowering kind of floral and while very animalistic it is never repulsively so. Despite the fact that there is no civet at the base to my knowledge (which is what makes Joy parfum slightly “dirty”) – you get a similar vibe from the dry down of Wild Thing – it’s always jasminey and quite long lasting; though I can’t really tell what is it in the base that make it linger so long (no particular note stands out enough to be noticed, aside from the rose and the jasmine; and whatever iris there is there – it is very subtle, which makes me wonder if it is not used merely as a fixative). To the flower girl within me, Wild Thing is pure bliss and thankfully it is not in the list “hippie”.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - The Different Company Sel de Vetiver
ayala 5/17/2008 2:49:00 PM
The concept of using minerals as a theme in perfume is relatively new. Although there are distinct mineral notes in perfumes such as Aqua Allegoria Pampeloune (Sulfur) and l’Eau d’Issey (Chlorine), the mineral presence in these fragrances was kept hush-hush only to be noticed by the keen noses; Yet the Elena family seems to be taking this concept into a whole different direction, spearheading the elemental or mineral movement in perfumery, with Sel de Vetiver by Celine Elena (Salt) and Terre d’Hermes by Jean-Claude Elena (Flint) and in general by their minimalist approach that is more mineral than organic. Sel de Vetiver (Vetiver Salt) from The Different Company meant to evoke the barely-there scent of ocean salt on a sun warmed skin. Although I can understand the salty reference and association with vetiver, warm it is not. Rather, it’s a cool, dusty vetiver with a clean earthy presence. It may recall the gritty, ground-sea-shells sand, salt sticking to driftwood and the rough dryness of skin that was soaked and masked with mud, salt and sulfur for too long. But it does not quite smell like salt or skin. Sel de Vetiver opens with an astringent, clean accord of grapefruit, ginger and a hint of cardamom that reminds me roasted dark coffee more than the spice itself. I can smell hints of ylang ylang, but they are not obvious at all, being rather heady and fleeting. Other notes that are mentioned are orris and geranium, but I can’t say I was aware of their presence at any given point. Vetiver and refined patchouli (smells more like a patchouli isolate rather than the full-bodied oil) step in pretty fast and dominate Sel de Vetiver for most of its life on the skin – the sweet, clean scent of these two earthy essences combined. Top notes: Grapefruit, Ginger, Cardamom Heart notes: Ylang Ylang, Geranium Bourbon, Orris Base notes: Vetiver, Patchouli