Okay, first things first: this has GOT to be one of the most beautiful perfume bottles ever created. When I first took it out of its white box, I was like: *gasp!* It’s even more stunning in person & the fan-shaped cap is SOLID GLASS, not plastic as is the norm these days. But my heart sank the moment I sprayed the perfume. Oh God… WHY did I buy this without sampling first?! It smelled like cheap men’s cologne/aftershave & was REALLY unpleasant, to say the least. I never understood what people meant when they say a perfume “smells like the ‘80s”… until I smelled Diva for the first time. Unlike Coco (another Jacques Polge masterpiece which came out in 1984 – a year after Diva – but whose Old World opulence makes it timeless), Diva, to me, embodied everything bad about the Decade of Excess – big permed hair, giant shoulder pads, garish make-up… the works. It put me off so much, I didn’t even attempt to wear it again until last year. I don’t know whether it’s because my taste has matured or my body chemistry has suddenly changed or my nose was out of whack the first time or what, but this time, Diva smelled GLORIOUS on my skin. I thoroughly enjoyed every stage of its development – from the grand, spicy floral opening tinged with green to the delectable Turkish Delight base, which made me want to devour my wrists. Diva is, I think, the perfect example of a Gourmand Rose Chypre, if such a category even existed. Many Diva enthusiasts seem to be up-in-arms about how the re-launched version is not quite the same as the original. Mine is the new EDP bought in 2011 (but probably 2010 stock) & I say it’s PERFECT. And it still has a fair amount of oakmoss in it (not sure about the latest batches, though… with the IFRA restriction/ban in full effect now, I imagine the current bottles have very little to no oakmoss at all… so sad as I feel that oakmoss is a vital component of this majestic chypre). As for comparisons with the EDT, from what I’ve read on Fragrantica, the EDT seems to be a pale shadow – not as lush & with a screeching green note that never goes away. So, make sure you don’t buy the EDT by mistake, unless you actually like that amplified green note. *From Michael Edwards: Fragrance Family: Rich Mossy Woods Notes: Top: Cardamom, Mandarin, Tuberose Heart: Ylang-ylang, Narcissus, Jasmine, Turkish/Ottoman Rose Base: Patchouli, Amber, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Florentine Iris, Vanilla
LouLou is said to have been inspired by the famous silent movie star, Louise Brooks – which perplexes me because unlike Arpège (another ‘purple’ perfume), LouLou does not evoke that era at all. I don’t know about the original formulation/parfum, but the current EDP smells more like a cross between Vanderbilt (minus the aldehydes & pineapple) & Poison, with the addition of incense, bubblegum & plastic doll notes. And those two scents came out just a few years before LouLou did (Vanderbilt - 1982, Poison - 1985, LouLou - 1987), so go figure. I like this current version well enough, but since I am already too familiar with this smell, it doesn’t wow me. The bottle & box are hideously ‘80s. Cacharel REALLY should update that packaging (though I think the parfum bottle, which looks like a genie lamp or something, is kind of cute in a kitschy sort of way). On the plus side, the longevity is INSANE (lasting practically the whole day on me), so if you have warm skin like mine, you only need 1-2 sprays. Overall rating: 3 ½ lippies. *From Michael Edwards: Fragrance Family: Rich Soft Oriental Notes: Top: Blackcurrant buds (Cassis), Leaves (Green), Mandarin, Marigold (Tagete) Heart: Heliotrope, Ylang-ylang, Tiare flower, Mimosa, Jasmine Base: Incense, Tonka Bean, Vanilla, Iris (Orris), Musk, Sandalwood
I’m not familiar with the original version, but the current EDT smells A LOT like L’Heure Bleue… which makes me really happy because now I can save my precious L’HB EDP for special occasions & wear its cheaper twin instead. Oscar also reminds me a little of Vanderbilt. All three are superb classics which I will always have in my collection. The staying power of the EDT leaves much to be desired, though. I hope they’ll bring back the EDP. Oscar was composed by Jean-Louis Sieuzac, the nose behind Opium & Dune. *From Michael Edwards: Fragrance Family: Classical Floral Oriental Notes: Top: Cascarilla, Basil, Orange Blossom, Coriander Heart: Vetiver, Tuberose, May Rose, Ylang-ylang, Jasmine, Broom Base: Myrrh, Patchouli, Clove, Opoponax, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Vetiver
This has a similar feel to White Diamonds. But of course… they were both composed by Sophia Grojsman. While WD is a Floral Aldehyde that dries down to ‘meh’ bitter powder on me, Vanderbilt is a sparkling Floral Oriental with a sweet, powdery base. I especially love the pineapple in this (don’t be scared off by the civet listed in the notes below… I detect NONE whatsoever in the current formulation). Many reviews here & over at Fragrantica have compared Vanderbilt to Oscar… I have yet to test the latter, but Oscar fans might want to check this one out. I also have to commend the quality of the spraying mechanism – the nozzle never fails to squirt out an even, fine mist of perfume, unlike many expensive fragrances with crappy atomisers that either squirt out too much or too little. The notes from Fragrantica: Top: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Green Notes, Neroli, Pineapple Heart: Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Rose, Tuberose, Ylang-ylang Base: Cinnamon, Civet, Musk, Opoponax, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Vanilla
The saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ could not be more apt as in the case of this perfume. I mean, such a tacky bottle with its flimsy plastic upper half can’t POSSIBLY contain something wonderful right? Wrong! This is a GORGEOUS, soft, smooth, spicy Oriental that is on par with the best of them: Coco, Opium, Youth-Dew, Cinnabar, you name it… belying its cheap price tag. And it has impressive credentials to boot: Café, launched in 1978, was composed by none other than Jean-Jacques Diener, the man behind the divine Must de Cartier. Some of the reviews on Café over at Fragrantica have ranged from “Opium lite” to “a cross between the best parts of Opium & Dune” – since I have never properly sniffed Opium (both original & current formulations – yes, sad I know), I can’t really vouch for its Opium-ness, but I do agree on the similarities with Dune, especially those mouth-watering cinnamon & dark chocolate notes. Despite the name & the coffee beans on the box, Café doesn’t really smell like coffee, but its silky smoothness & the way it makes you crave it constantly does bring to mind a good cup of joe – specifically, hot cinnamon mocha. A luxurious, underrated gem. Note: This review is for the current Parfum de Toilette distributed by Cofinluxe. *From Michael Edwards: Fragrance Family: Classical Soft Oriental Notes: Top: Verbena, Lime, Artemisia Heart: Clove, Ylang-ylang, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Jasmine Base: Oakmoss, Incense, Musk, Patchouli
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - New Dana Perfumes - Toujours Moi
violette 3/18/2013 11:13:00 AM
This is a great drugstore classic… IF you haven’t already smelled/owned Molinard’s Habanita. Unfortunately, I’ve been spoiled rotten by Habanita & when I finally blind-bought Toujours Moi last year after coveting it for so long, needless to say, I was rather disappointed. Yes, they bear a strong resemblance to each other indeed – both debuted in 1921, both are woody orientals, with Habanita perfecting the recipe further by adding a good dose of film noir sex appeal. Plus, Habanita has that delicious pipe tobacco/leather accord I love, minus the sour ‘tamarind juice’ note (fellow Asians would know what I’m talking about) which I’m not very fond of in TM. No guesses here which one I prefer more. *From Michael Edwards: Fragrance Family: Rich Woody Oriental Notes: Top: Lavender, Bergamot, Cinnamon, Pimento (Allspice) Heart: Ylang-ylang, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley (Muguet) Base: Vanilla, Musk, Sandalwood
Mmmm… this is YUMMY! Who the heck doesn’t like root beer float anyway? :-) I have never sniffed the original/vintage & the new cologne is definitely on the ‘gourmand’ side of the spectrum rather than ‘whore’ (what a stir the original must have caused back in 1932!), but still, even in its current synthetic, chaste incarnation, Tabu is flat out A ZILLION times better than the boring, oh-so-predictable sugar bombs/fruitchoulis/fruity florals cluttering the perfume counters these days. If Tabu were the last surviving perfume on earth, I would wear it with pride. The fact that it was composed by the great Jean Carles (whose other masterpiece, Miss Dior, I will forever regard as the gold standard of the perfect floral leather chypre… & whose utter ruination by the evil IFRA I will forever mourn), makes me love this drugstore classic even more. And hey, Gloria Swanson & Ava Gardner reportedly wore this, which is good enough for me! Wonderful. Simply wonderful. Note: I have the 45ml Pure Spray Cologne in the cello/violin-shaped bottle. I don’t know how it compares to the regular cologne. *From Michael Edwards: Fragrance Family: Rich Oriental Notes: Top: Terragon, Lemon, Basil, Bergamot Heart: Heliotrope, Rose, Ylang-ylang, Lily of the Valley, Jasmine Base: Musk, Vanilla, Oakmoss, Benzoin, Patchouli
Habanita originally came out in 1921 as a fragrance to scent ladies’ cigarettes. Soon, some of these bold ladies (i.e. flappers) started wearing it on themselves. Thus, began Habanita’s commercialization as a women’s fragrance three years later. On me, Habanita is a woody, powdery, pipe tobacco/vanilla scent, with an undertone of dried roses & soft leather. Delicious. The quality is top notch, even for an EDT, as it wears more like an EDP on my skin – I can still clearly smell it 12 HOURS after application! You definitely get your money’s worth with this one. Try THAT with the endless glut of over-rated, over-priced, mass market celebrity/designer dreck out these days, most of which are nothing more than scented & colored bottled tap water & last just as long on the skin – forget the EDT, you’d be lucky if you can still detect the EDP an hour later! (The current “fast food” trend in the perfume industry of launching as many perfumes in a year as possible with the aim of raking in as much profit as they can in the shortest time possible, while grossly short-changing consumers on quality, is just SICKENING, in my opinion). Okay, rant over. Back to Habanita. As far as sillage goes, it is HUGE, like BigEars said below. And, as mentioned earlier, it is also VERY powdery & quite heavy on the tobacco note, so this fragrance is definitely not for those who are sensitive to strong perfumes, who don’t like powdery or tobacco-smelling perfumes in general, or who simply don’t wish to attract attention with their scent... because it WILL announce your presence. It’s worth mentioning that if you’re a fan of Caron’s Nuit de Noel, it’s highly likely that you will love Habanita as well as they’re practically siblings. While Nuit de Noel is the elegant, conservative older sister who always does what her family & society expects of her, Habanita, on the other hand, is the flamboyant, chain-smoking flapper with a boisterous laugh & devil-may-care attitude, who couldn’t care less whom she offends. ;-) The black Lalique-designed Art Deco flacon is simply stunning. Fragrance family: Rich Woody Oriental Fragrance notes: Top: Lentisk (Gum Mastic), Galbanum, Petit-grain (Orange Leaf). Heart: Grasse Jasmine, Heliotrope, Nutmeg, Ylang-ylang, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Rose (Rosa Centifolia). Base: Oakmoss, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Amber, Patchouli, Musk. (*source: Michael Edwards)
Dear Lord, this is one GORGEOUS fragrance! And I'm only talking about the EDT! If even the EDT is a thing of such breathtaking beauty, I can't begin to imagine just how mind blowing the Parfum must be! I really don't understand how some people find this difficult to wear, unpleasant, heck MEDIOCRE, even (?!), but then again, not everyone has the right skin chemistry &/or personality to be able to pull off a dark, classic Oriental like this. To my nose & on my skin, Nuit de Noel is one of the darkest, most sensual, most complex, most delicious & most wonderfully old-fashioned aromas I've ever had the pleasure of smelling. Not only that, it also boasts of a truly unique, one-of-a-kind, composition/structure. Instead of the usual volatile citruses at the top, there are jasmine, rose & ylang-ylang, notes which are commonly found in the heart/middle. So, instead of evaporating after 10-15 minutes like the top notes usually do, these florals pretty much remain throughout most of the duration of the scent, gloriously mingling with sandalwood, tuberose, musk, amber & the famous mousse-de-saxe/Saxon moss accord (which is said to be a special blend of geranium, licorice, leather, iodine and vanillin). And the overall effect on my skin (& clothes) is nothing short of stunning & mouthwatering, with a distinct gourmand feel. Imagine, if you will, a bowl of freshly roasted chestnuts, over which someone has drizzled sinfully rich vanilla cream topped with dried rose petals, incense, sandalwood & moss... mmmm... HEAVENLY. Makes me hungry just thinking about it... LOL. If you love dark, sensual Orientals like Shalimar, Habanita (in fact, Nuit de Noel is the woodier, lighter, more elegant older sister... minus the pipe tobacco note, of course), Vol de Nuit, Samsara, Must de Cartier, Coco, Opium, Youth-Dew &/or Dune, sombre chypres like Mitsouko & 1000 (although formally classified as an Oriental, Nuit de Noel also has a strong earthy, semi-chypre feel to it), or even gourmand-y Floral Orientals like L'Heure Bleue & Tocade, then Nuit de Noel is another one to add to the collection. Oh, & speaking of the name, I also don't get the Christmas Eve reference either. LOVE the gorgeous vintage-style bottle, which matches the scent perfectly, in my opinion. Fragrance family: Classical Woody Oriental Fragrance notes: Top: Jasmine, Ylang-ylang, May Rose Heart: Sandalwood, Tuberose, Mousse de Saxe Base: Musk, Amber (*source: Michael Edwards)
I love warm, deep, sensual, amber-y/vanilla Orientals, so Shalimar, naturally, ticks all the right boxes for me. I don't get any gasoline, rubber, "chain-smoking 1920s prostitute" or "small-town slut" mentioned by some of the reviewers below, which is why I'm truly perplexed by the negative reviews. Then again, I have only smelled & owned the current EDP in the gorgeous new Jade Jagger-designed flacon & have never experienced the previous versions (even the one in the hideous Batman logo-shaped bottle), which so many here seem to be referring to. Like what paulie86 said below, the new version out today (well, the EDP at least... I can't speak for the EDT or EDC) has been "cleaned up" a lot & is not as heavy, smoky, leathery or animalic as it used to be. Even the EDP, in my opinion, is light enough for daytime wear in warm weather now, where previously, it was strictly an evening/cold weather scent. This should be great news to those who have always wanted to wear the EDP but found it too heavy or oppressive, but I, personally, am rather disappointed that Guerlain felt the need to clean it up so drastically in conjuction with the switch to the new flacon. Don't get me wrong, the EDP is still breathtakingly beautiful & magnificent -- the rich, opulent Art Deco style & Eastern exoticism are still there, but sadly, the "volume" has been unnecessarily turned down too low. I still love it, regardless, but now long for the old formulation & deeply regret not stocking up bottles of it while I still had the chance. Well, off to eBay... *sigh* The notes from Michael Edwards: Top: Lemon, Bergamot. Heart: Jasmine, May Rose. Base: Opopanax, Tonka bean, Incense, Iris (Orris), Vanilla.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Prince Matchabelli - Wind Song
violette 3/31/2011 8:29:00 AM
I'm generally not a fan of florals, except when they are supported by sweet/fruit notes (eg. the blackcurrant in Guerlain's Champs-Elysees, & the honey & peach in Burberry Weekend), so I'm really surprised that I would end up loving a classic green floral like Wind Song (guess my tastes in perfumes have significantly matured over the years...). Having read reviews touting Wind Song as a much cheaper, less complex version of Nina Ricci's L'Air du Temps, I thought what the heck. Might as well buy Wind Song first & see what all the hoopla is about... if I didn't like it, at least I wouldn't have lost much money compared to if I had bought blind its more expensive older sister (naturally, as with most fine classic fragrances, both of them are "conveniently" not available in my country). Of course, the first time I tried Wind Song, I hated it. I couldn't believe how harsh & chemically it smelled -- it stung my nostrils & gave me a throbbing headache. I didn't find anything appealing about it whatsoever & could not, for the life of me, understand how anyone could give this perfume a positive, glowing review. However, I decided to give it another chance & lo & behold, by the third day, I had miraculously done a complete 180. This time, instead of harsh chemicals, I finally got the soft, pleasant, old-fashioned, soapy, spicy/citrusy/green floral everyone's been raving about... & I absolutely LOVE it! Imagine that... from HATE to LOVE in just THREE days! LOL. Unbelievable! Now, I even find myself sniffing the bottle & missing the scent dearly whenever I'm not wearing it. :-) By the way, the bird-adorned box is sooo adorable, hands down one of the prettiest perfume boxes I've ever seen. Seriously, I can spend HOURS looking at it! :-) Such a shame, though, that the cologne bottle itself is rather plain... Fragrance family: Classical Floral (Bouquet) Fragrance notes: Top: Leaves (green), Jasmine, Rose, Mandarin Heart: Carnation, Clove, Ylang-ylang, Jasmine Base: Musk, Sandalwood, Amber (*source: Michael Edwards)
Another disappointing offering from Avon's so-called "prestige" designer/celebrity fragrance line. Then again, looking at the frou-frou pink liquid & gimmicky advertised notes ("Benzoin Tears"?? "Vanilla Smoke"??) -- the latter of which is always a company's lame-ass marketing attempt at making their perfumes look/sound more interesting than they actually are, my expectations weren't that high to begin with. Just like Outspoken, Avon's previous collaboration with Fergie (which, despite the singer's highly-exaggerated claim of it as a "bold" scent that reflects her personality, ended up smelling like a timid, diluted version of Dior's Poison on my skin -- minus the honey, woods, resins, spices & the headache & nausea-inducing factor), Femme is also equally guilty of grossly false advertising. The top notes of Chinese magnolia, Sicilian pink grapefruit & cardamom sounded promising & of course, I expected something sweet/creamy/citrusy/spicy in the beginning... but nope. Of all things, I got... wait for it... BUBBLEGUM! Yep, you read that right: straight-up bubblegum, in all its glorious tutti-fruiti, pink sweetness. This bubblegum accord persisted throughout the entire duration of the scent, eventually drying down about an hour later to a mixture of bubblegum, vanilla & a faint whisper of sweet wood (is that the honey wood?). No magnolia, no grapefruit, no cardamom, no orange blossom, no cedarwood, no benzoin, no cypress wood & no smoke as promised whatsoever. In short, yet another typical, smell-alike Avon fragrance that we've all sniffed way too many times to count in recent years, it's not even funny anymore. *sigh* I really am sooo tired of Avon's current sickening, lazy trend of poured-from-the-same-vat, pink, tutti-frutti, "young-smelling" fragrances that are completely devoid of any character, depth or personality. They think that if they just basically add/remove one or two ingredients from the same formula, package them in different bottles, slap on Ungaro or Herve Leger or Christian Lacroix labels & no one would be the wiser. God, how stupid do they think the customers are?! I wish they would just stop with this nonsense already (which have gone on for WAY too long, imo) & go back to producing quality perfumes at low prices like they used to in the good ol' days. Sorry Avon/Herve Leger, the only "Femme" I'll be adding to my collection is the 1943 timeless classic by Rochas.
I used the anti-perspirant deodorant several years ago & remembered liking the scent. So, out of nostalgia, I went to my neighborhood Avon boutique last Friday to test the cologne... well, I'm happy to report that I still like it a lot! :-) Despite what some previous reviewers say, I don't agree that Sweet Honesty smells cheap (although it IS cheap) or outdated whatsoever, or is more suited to tweens/young girls. Yes, it has been around since 1973, which means so many of us here grew up with Sweet Honesty or even bought/received it as our first perfume (though I'm not one of them as I only discovered Avon in the mid '90s when I was already in college); however, to me, it's a timeless, soft, very appealing scent that I can see women of all ages wearing. It's sweet, creamy, powdery & musky with a prominent undertone of honey that's really pleasant & comforting to my nose. If you love warm, soft, powdery scents like Guerlain's L'Heure Bleue or even scents with a honey note such as Chanel's Coco & Lancome's Poeme, but are looking for a much cheaper alternative for office/daily use, I think Sweet Honesty is a good choice. The staying power is amazing for a cologne spray, wearing more like an EDP on my skin. The same thing also happens to me with Vanilla Soft Musk, another perennial Avon favorite. (Hmmm... you gotta wonder what kind of "special" alcohol the company uses exclusively for their cologne sprays to give them such remarkable longevity... LOL. By comparison, their current EDPs & EDTs don't even last half as long as they should!). Packaging-wise, I agree that it COULD use a prettier bottle than the painfully generic, cheap-looking one it currently comes in... :-/ ***ETA (16/5/11)*** The official notes from Avon: Top: Aldehydes, Bergamot Heart: Carnation, Rose Base: Heliotrope, Vanilla, Cedar (As it turns out, this does indeed share many of the same notes with L'Heure Bleue!) :-)
I agree with JonMoss below. This is a dead-ringer of Imari Seduction, minus the note (the purple orchid, I think) that made Imari Seduction annoyingly bitter & medicinal on my skin. If you couldn't wear that one either, give this a go. The notes from Fragrantica: Plum, Pepper, Violet Leaves, Blond Wood
The notes from Fragrantica: Top: Apple, Persimmon Heart: Gardenia, Rose Base: Musk, Moss, Vetiver I'm surprised that this EDT has apple & persimmon in it cause I definitely don't get any sweet fruit notes (maybe they're more of the UNRIPE variety?). Starts out green & sharp, then dries down to a soft, powdery, creamy floral tinged with musk & moss (unlike the reviewers below, I don't get anything smoky/tobacco-ish). Nice, but nothing original or exciting (well, what else can we expect from Avon these days, anyway?). I'm also baffled by the '50s reference. It doesn't smell especially vintage or glam to my nose & typical images from that decade don't exactly flash before my eyes when I get a whiff of this. Some people do seem to like it, though (see reviews below), but it's just too blah & one-dimensional for my taste. For a similar style scent with more 'oomph', I'll just stick with a classic floral chypre like my beloved Miss Dior (I have the '90s EDT).