Fragrances -L'Artisan Fragrances - Fleur de Narcisse
dreamstorm 3/3/2007 4:09:00 PM
Until I finally got around to reading the reviews on Productville, I was slightly convinced that L'Artisan had accidentally mixed up their bottles and thrown Tea for Two and a little bit of Annick Goutal's Mandragore in Fleur de Narcisse's fancy schmancy limited edition packaging. This fragrance smells like no narcissus flower I've ever smelled; instead it is a smokey, charry tobacco and lapsang suchong tea scent blended with a lemony herbal note that approximates Thai Tom Yum soup. It's interesting, comforting and a little refreshing, but definitely not worth $295 a bottle...as I mentioned before, a similar effect could be obtained by layering Mandragore and a good lapsang suchong scent like TfT or Te Nero.
A profoundly "woody" vanilla scent that only has tenuous associations to actual French Vanilla to me. Also duplicated for a bare fraction of the price by Dragonfly Blue's Vanilla fragrance oil.
I am not a large fan of i Profumi di Firenze's original vanilla scent Vaniglia de Madagascar. Clearly, I'm in the minority on this one as it is astoundingly popular on MUA, but something about it just seems so heavy to me and make me feel fairly queasy. So I wasn't exactly expecting great things from Zenzero, iPf's take on vanilla with a bit of ginger added. But I was pleasantly surprised -- Zenzero is a beautiful, rich orchid vanilla with a hint of confectionery lightness to it, and the light, almost lemony ginger note gives it a subtle, bright twist. It reminds me a lot of another favorite vanilla of mine, Susanne Lang's Midnight Orchid, but a bit lighter and more wearable. Lovely.
What a disappointment. Vanilla Bean is not a dramatically different scent from Bath and Body Work's Vanilla Bean, perhaps even a little worse, but at about ten times the price. It's a bland, overly musky woody vanilla with a nutty accent and an overlying note of "fresh" soapy florals. There are much better vanillas out there!
Dzongkha is certainly an interesting fragrance for L'Artisan, though I don't know if I would classify it as neccesarily appealing. To my nose, it is a strange yet intriguing blend of sandalwood (the same dry, hot, grainy type as in Diptyque's Tam Dao), incense and some sort of resiny herbs, accented with hints of icy iris. It's actually fairly reminiscent of the sizzling resiny herbal brew in Yosh's Omniscent. But both scents, while interesting to observe, seem far too medicinal and earthy to actually enjoy wearing.
Songes fools you with its opening into thinking it's a simple, bright floral, nothing more. It starts with a lovely, creamy frangipane that is pure and light, reminiscent of Chanticaille's lovely frangipane-vanilla combination, but clearer and brighter...a distinct improvement, but still nothing too exciting. Then, slowly the cinnamon and spices creep up, and the thin reedy jasmine note wafts its way through the fragrance. The overall effect is not unlike a freesia-hued version of The Different Company's Jasmin de Nuit. Sultry and very bold. And very innovative and daring for Annick Goutal, a house I've mostly come to mostly associate with simple, pretty, clean scents. However, I don't know if I could actually buy this scent as it sometimes it starts to misbehave on my skin, giving rise to a heavy cumin note that makes me smell like a dish of curry.
Not having a particular predisposition towards "green" scents, and not faring too well with the last Nanadebary release, I let my sample of Green sit untested in my drawer for ages. Big mistake. Little did I know I was neglecting one of the most lovely, crisp, happy citrus fragrances I would ever encounter. It opens with a blast of bright, clear orangey citrus, and underneath lies a slightly tangy note of green basil leaves. On paper, it sounds like a strange combination, but somehow it works out amazingly. It's zesty without being pithy, herbal and green without being medicinal, citrussy without being sharp. Easily on par with The Different Company Divine Bergamote and L'Artisan The Pour Une Ete as one of my top summer scents.
When I first tried Amir, I was astonished at how surprisingly intoxicating I found it -- a resin-laden incense scent, touched with a bit of cinnamonny vanilla. It was a little too heavy for my tastes, but certainly beautiful. But something kept on nagging me every time I put it on -- it smelled exactly like something else I had and loved once -- what was it? Finally, it dawned on me: Amir was almost identical to Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's fragrance, Snake Oil. (Which I stopped being able to wear because I found too strong and heavy...I'm certain Amir would suffer the same fate if I ventured to buy a bottle.) Snake Oil is comparatively much cheaper, although I would probably still opt for the Tonatto just because I much prefer sprays to perfume oils (not to mention I don't want to wait 6 weeks for a bottle!).
Le Labo's take on jasmine doesn't smell particularly all that jasmine-y to me -- instead, it seems more of a sugary lemon-vanilla scent with a touch of greenness to it. It's sweet and springy, though I suspect there are a number of people out there who are going to say it smells a little like Lemon Pledge. It reminds me in a lot of ways of Apivita's Euphoria (a ylang-ylang and vanilla scent) or some Keiko Mecheri that I have forgotten the name of, but sweeter. Pretty, although not spectacularly complex.
Fragrances -Fruits & Passion - Lemon Vanilla Eau de Toilette [DISCONTINUED]
dreamstorm 1/20/2007 9:15:00 PM
I adore lemon/vanilla combinations in fragrances, but Fruits & Passion's Lemon Vanilla EDT missed the mark a bit for me. Instead of the tart citrus and powdered sugar vanilla meld I was expecting, I found a lemon note that was extremely soft and light, almost green or herbal at times. It smells more like lemon hard candy than actual lemon. The vanilla, far from being delightfully sugary, is barely present, adding only a dash of soft sweetness at the base. Overall it's a pleasant and inoffensive scent, but nothing wow-worthy. My favorite lemon-vanillas still come from Apivita's Euphoria EDT, Jacqua Girl's Lemon Meringue body souffle, Santa Maria Novella's Creme Per Le Mani and Watkin's Lemon Creme hand lotion.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Parfums Regence - Kolnisch Juchten
dreamstorm 1/20/2007 9:06:00 PM
Kolnisch Juchten is a starts as a sizzling, charry, yet slightly sweet leather scent: smooth black leather blended with burnt ashes and bonfire smoke, powdery honey and a hint of orange. While I normally love orange in my perfumes, I'm not a huge fan of the note as it is rendered here -- it quite bitter and herbal, lending an almost medicinal air to the scent at times. A few hours into the drydown, the ashey, black notes fade into the background and honey and a slightly softer version of the orange take over. While it still has a bit of a charred wood accord, the scent becomes much softer and cozier. I think I like it better in the final dry down, as it is initially is a little too masculine for my tastes, but in both stages it is a very cozy, comforting Fall/Winter staple.
Fragrances -Crown Perfumery - Marechale (original)
dreamstorm 1/20/2007 2:58:00 AM
Marechale is a deep, dusky rose scent -- damask roses with velvety petals surrounded by warm, spicy carnations and a bit of lemony bergamot, with the same wine-y truffle accord I find in Frederic Malle's Une Rose. However, though I technically find the composition of exquisite, wearing it, I can't help sometimes feeling like a walking bowl of potpourri.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Scoop NYC by Scoop NYC
dreamstorm 1/20/2007 2:35:00 AM
Scoop NYC has promising top notes of tart, green apples but disappointingly, it soon settles into a typical department store fruity floral composed mostly of some light musk, pear and a hint of jasmine and citrus. Hardly unpleasant, but fairly generic.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - NOTE Fragrances Blossom perfume oil
dreamstorm 1/16/2007 4:23:00 PM
NOTE Blossom is a gorgeous, clear, sunny, sweet fruit scent that is positively delectable. As in Des Filles a La Vanille Toi...Mon Ange, a gorgeous, sweet, bright peach note is accompanied by a soft toffee-vanilla, to wonderful effect. NOTE Blossom is less gourmand and much stronger and forceful with the actual peach note than the Des Filles however, and I think I actually might prefer it to Toi...Mon Ange, would NOTE only make it in spray form instead of in an annoying roll-on applicator.
Brulure de Rose is not a bad rose scent, but it's not one that has particularly captivated me. It opens up with a combination of dark rose petals, saffron, and maybe a hint of sandalwood. Immediately I was reminded a little of L'Artisan Safran Troublant, and another scent I tested recently and found similar to Safran Troublant, Bond No. 9 West Side. Upon further reflection, I think this actually shares the most in common with the high-strung, metallic, jam-like rose-saffron combination in Keiko Mecheri's Gourmandises. I find it really a little too bitter and nervous of a scent for me to feel comfortable wearing, or really even for me to find pretty. Eventually, about an hour or two into its dry down it gets a bit more rounded and duskier -- a cocoa note emerges which grounds the bitterness of the saffron and channels it into a gourmand direction. Pleasant, but not worth waiting for in my opinion.