Monthly Archives: January 2012

Tauer – Eau D’Epices & Une Rose Chypree

Two more Tauer reviews here.

Now, there’s a similar note in both of these that I don’t actually enjoy… and I’ve only just felt like I can understand them enough to review them. So here it is, I’ll start with…

Eau D’Epices opens with a huge, complicated bag of spices, some citrus peel bursts out, cardamom pods – fresh and green, cloves, cinnamon; it is sweet and unedible-y delicious. It’s extremely exotic, dense, and true to description. Luckily, the spices are all carefully chosen, and none have that “tickle your throat” peppery note that many spice-laden fragrances contain.

After a couple of minutes, a very green herbacious note comes in. This note is more foody than earthy, but it isn’t quite so mouthwatering and makes the spice basket much more savoury. In the list of notes, is coriander: I actually thought it was bay leaf, but it is green, leafy, crinkly, and spicy. It creates a whole new texture and each spice seems to bounce off of this herb. The cardamom is also intense – it’s intense sweetness is counterbalanced by the raw greenery of the note, heavily perfumed and it creates a bizarre texture on the top of the fragrance. I struggle to get on with it, but it is utterly compelling.

The complexity during this opening to heart, is out of this world. It is extremely dense, and as I describe all Tauer’s: “full”. There is never anything missing in his compositions and you can tell he has worked painstakingly hard to get them absolutely perfect.

Sniffing Eau D’Epices too regularly as I am now is slightly headache inducing, it is so intense, and yes – spicy, that it is quite overwhelming. As for the development, Eau D’Epices remains relatively linear, whether it is my nose getting used to it or not, thankfully the green herb begins to mellow out a lot more and just support the spices as a slightly savoury base.
Some florals creep in that I believe is jasmine, and a faint whisp of incense in the traditional Tauer use.

The base remains slightly greener than his more famous compositions with the addition of vetiver, but it works with the spices and keeps them fresh.

All in all, a deep dense bundle of exotic spices – literally, a top some incense and earthy vetiver. I don’t think there is a more literal spice basket scent out there and the quality as always with Tauer is exceptional.
Unfortunately, it’s not really my type of scent, but I really am glad I’ve tried it and have my little sample for reference.

Une Rose Chypree is a fragrance I wanted to try to understand the “Chypre” category of fragrances more. It opens with a huge blast of wonderful tart Tauer citrus’ which instantly caves in to some nose tingling cinnamon, and bay leaf. Now, this savoury note of bay leaf, is something when I first smelt this, I had never came across before. It’s green, foody, almost curry like just due to my own associations. It was completely unexpected.

Wearing it right now for probably the 3rd or 4th time, I can enjoy this opening more, however, I really really didn’t enjoy the bay the first few times round. However, I find this instantly easier to wear than Eau D’Epices most likely due to the supporting notes.

Some stunning rose comes through that is of such great quality and so perfectly blended, that it took me 3 wearings to detect it! The bay I find probably the most overpowering note, but only because I’m paying so much attention to it. When I learnt to accept it, the rose came through, and it’s none of that soapy clean rose here, it’s in traditional Tauer style – it’s peppery, spicy and earthy, almost carnation like.

The bay note does mellow out as the rose becomes more prominent along with the bitter oakmoss and earthy patchouli. The patchouli is also only just detectable to me, and it’s not the typical hippie patchouli that I’m used to and love, it blends with all the other green notes to provide something almost creamy and earthy… can’t quite describe it.

There is a very resinous base (as to be expected with Tauer), but as this is in his “Homages” line, he diverts away from his usual ambergris, incense, tonka bean Tauerade, yet somehow makes it undeniably “his”.

For anyone who is a fan of Chypre fragrances, this is obviously a must try, from my small amount of exposure and exploration of them, I can recognise what a wonderful example and interpretation of it this is. As always, exceptional quality, totally unique and to top it off: a beautiful bottle!

Tauer – Une Rose Chypree 30ml EDP – EUR 97.90 RRP
Tauer – Eau D’Epices 50ml EDP – EUR 85.50 RRP both available from tauerperfumes.com

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Parfumerie Generale – Indochine

A very generous eBay member sent me the remains of her sample of Parfumerie Generale’s Indochine. I had heard nothing about it, and have not read up on it much. I’m gonna do a similar thing to what I did with the H&G samples and just try it now, and give you guys a brief description.

Indochine opens with a lovely, creamy benzoin. I can quickly pick up honey, which is rich and dense like a set honey. The only honey scent I’m really familiar with is Miel De Bois which I own and love, but that honey is sheer and hot, it radiates, Indochine’s honey melts.

This fragrance has a Play-doh like texture, it is doughy, full, and is ever so slightly salty. With this beautifully tasty benzoin and set honey, it’s sweet, but not cloying at all. There’s some slight spice in there which I’ve read up is pepper, it took a little time before I could find this but it is just sitting underneath everything providing just a little kick to the cream.

The base must be composed of a very pale but smooth wood, it’s resinous and blends in beautifully with the heart of this fragrance. There is absolutely nothing unpleasant in this at all and it’s extremely easy to wear.
After just 15 minutes or so a lot of the density has mellowed out and the fragrance becomes lighter and more powdery. It smells a little ambery at the base but I’m not sure if that’s listed, it may just be the resins and the benzoin which is mimicking this.
There is also a slight green underneath it all, but it’s very subtle and doesn’t distract from the gourmand quality of Indochine which I like. All the spices are in full order in perfect proportions, the benzoin stands out the most in Indochine and everything else just adds an accent on it. Cardamon is listed which I love but it isn’t a featuring note to my nose as I can only just pick it out… maybe that’s what’s adding the green sweetness?

Anyway. Lovely, easy to wear gourmand fragrance, not edible, but very comfortable. I do keep picking up a Play-doh type of note but I actually really enjoy that. The honey is calm and cozy and I’d definitely recommend it as a light, cloudy gourmand for fans of vanilla and benzoin. I’ll definitely have to explore more of this line.

Parfumerie Generale Indochine 50ml EDP – £81.50 Les Senteurs

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Parfum D’Empire – Ambre Russe & Wazamba

Ambre Russe opens with a sharp blast of vodka. A true to life, salty alcohol note with the beautifully rich amber sweetness underneath.
Pretty much instantly a slightly savoury spice comes in, like a de-sweetened cardamon, and a mellow incense. The incense is far from churchy and smells extremely exotic.

Ambre Russe is extremely complex, and my nose is no where near trained enough to disect it much further. There is a slightly stale note that joins in along with some tobacco and tea leaves. It is a complicated and slightly confused melange of spices, textures, sweet and savoury notes on top of a beautiful opulent amber.

This fragrance is unlike any other amber I have tried, it remains relatively savoury, despite the amber providing a great deal of honeyed sweetness. Also, unlike Luten’s Ambre Sultan, it is not medicinal and the spices seem far more exotic and complimentary.

Parfum D’Empire have created an outstanding amber, which is literally huge. It is complex, exotic and completely original. The fragrance stays strong throughout the day and is an outstanding alternative in the amber genre.
The spices and incense remind me very much so of…

Wazamba… which I guess is to be expected in a brand. It opens with an everchanging combination of notes ranging from savoury spices, to citrus and cypress, and then suddenly a sweetness emerges out of the cloud of resinous dust and leaves it all behind.

Wazamba is bizarrely sweeter than Ambre Russe, but shares a similar incense note. There is some fresh apple in there which brightens up the composition, but after the initial confusion, Wazamba remains relatively linear. It is resinous, and has a blossoming immortelle note throughout, which confuses me as it’s not listed at all, however I’ve noted other reviewers have also picked up on this.

I don’t have much experience with myrrh, but I can pick it up from what I remember of my previous encounters with it, apparantly it’s pretty obvious in this composition, but as with AR, this is an extremely complex fragrance that is very difficult for a beginner like myself to disect.

So on a whole, Wazamba is a sweet, resinous blend of what smells like pine, immortelle, powdered incense, and sweet smoked woods. It is like nothing else I’ve ever smelt, and the quality is utterly outstanding. As with AR, longevity is wonderful as to be expected.
Although I highly rate these fragrances, they are not really to my taste… and I don’t think I will ever own one of them, but if they sound appealing to you, then you must try them, they will be much better than my attempt at describing them.

I haven’t really explored the Parfum D’Empire line beyond these, and a few others – my favourite being Cuir Ottoman which is on it’s way in the post to me right now! I will review this at a later date as I truly believe it is outstanding, even if not the most original idea to some.

Apologies for these reviews being so brief, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to break down these fragrances, but I think they need to be known and Parfum D’Empire should be gaining a lot more credit than they do, so I’m sure for them, any news is good news :)

Parfum D’Empire Ambre Russe 100ml – £84.50 Les Senteurs
Parfum D’Empire Wazamba 100ml – £84.50 Les Senteurs

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Tauer – Lonestar Memories, Olivier Durbano – Black Tourmaline, ELdO Vierges et Toreros

Birch tar.

That is what this post is about.
So, these 3 probably aren’t the first that jump to mind when I mention this note, but they are definitely 3 worth mentioning, and 2 which I really enjoy…

Lonestar Memories opens with a huge nose attack of hot rubber, tar, and an gorgeous sharp menthol note. The menthol note drops into the background quickly, ready to come back out later, releasing a slightly herbal carrot seed and green herb note that adds an astringent edge to the tar. The birch tar is often used as a leather note, if this is leather, it is a rough, dirty leather, but to me, birch tar is birch tar, not leather…

Anyway. I love this opening, it took some wearings before I loved it, but after my ongoing exploration into challenging fragrances, this is now just something I consider easy and loveable, but in reality it is anything but that. It is addictive, powerful and masculine, and so, so appealing and familiar.

Lonestar Memories is incredibly smoky, it’s like a face-full of bonfire smoke, but the rubber note actually mellows it out and makes it more comfortable. As this calms down, the base begins to peek through, along with that menthol note again – to be honest, I normally always get this menthol note quite strong, but it’s on my hand now and I’m not actually picking it up that strongly, I’ll mention it anyway :’)

The base is “Tauerade” again, but the smoky tar is powerful enough to entwine with the base to create a beautiful, sweet, smokey fragrance that lasts and lasts – just like all the Tauer’s. The warmth of amber, exotic incense, woods and vetiver create an intense, modern base which drags the smoky start throughout the entirity of Lonestar Memories’ life.

I didn’t love this straight away, it took me some wearings. It wasn’t a case of uncomfortable notes (many people say this has a barbecue note of cooking meat but I don’t quite get that), for me initially I thought this wasn’t enough, I wanted it to be overtly powerful and unbearable but it wasn’t, instead I began to find it an easy wear which I would reach out for over and over. It’s familiar, unusual, and very sexy. (And since writing this review I ended up buying a bottle :))

Everything about Olivier Durbano’s Black Tourmaline oozes “cool”. The bottle, the black juice, the little rocks floating around… it’s very impressive. The scent however, for me, doesn’t quite live up to all this.

Other reviewers describe this opening as challenging and intensely smokey (birch tar) and full of rough leather. This opening is nowhere near as intense or full as Tauer’s for example, the birch tar is quite sparse and there is an instant underlying sweetness of velvet smooth amber, woods and incense. So yes, so far, it sounds identical to Tauer’s, but it’s not. It is sweeter, paler, and more woodsy. It is a pleasant smell, but in the genre it’s trying to make a statement in, it is far from the greatest.

The birch tar in Black Tourmaline fades relatively quickly, and half an hour later or so and the most prominent notes are the woods and amber with some smokey incense and leather in a gentle haze over the top. It is pleasant, very easy to wear, and just unusual enough to scrape you a compliment here and there.

For the price of this scent and the statement you would be trying to make by wearing it, I think there are much better options out there.
It has also been described by a few as “a cross between Lonestar Memories and L’Air Du Desert Marocain” but without a doubt, not as good as either.

Vierges et Toreros opens with a beautiful floral bouquet of ylang ylang, and a hugely synthetic, rubbery tuberose. However, this all tumbles downwards in a spiral of tar (leather), animalics and peppery vetiver within seconds. The first few times I sampled this, the floral opening was so quick and fleeting I missed it, but after numerous wearings I’ve understood this complicated composition more and more…

The mentholated aspects of tuberose pop their head through to support the tar notes and this reminds me of Lonestar Memories when this happens. Vierges et Toreros literally splits in two in the heart. The tropical florals return, lactonic and cloying (in the best possible way), with a hugely synthetic rubber vibe pushing up front. In the other half, is a toned down version of Lonestar Memories – birch tar and pungent vetiver creating a pitch black smoke. The two halfs are complete opposites, but they somehow work. A typical Etat Libre D’Orange metallic accord is pierced through the middle, dividing these two further.

Throughout the drydown, these two halves never fully merge, and are constantly uncomfortable (I love it!). The power of each of them is never balanced and sometimes the florals come into the foreground, only to be pulled back by the intense draft of smoke. It’s a brilliantly creative composition and one of the best in the ELdO line.

Vierges et Toreros doesn’t have the amber and incense base that Tauer’s LM has but yet remains sweeter from the gentle animalics and florals that keep managing to show their face every now and again.
It’s a wonderful, playful fragrance and as always, Etat Libre D’Orange prove they are more than just a kooky brand with playful marketing.

I was going to write these reviews as a comparison, but I think they kind of compare themselves there. I highly recommend Lonestar Memories and Vierges et Toreros, unfortunately, not so much Black Tourmaline – sorry Olivier. They are great rough leather fragrances and both entirely unique. I truly believe that these two are standouts in the genre.

Tauer Lonestar Memories 50ml EDT – Euros 79.70 RRP  tauerperfumes.com
Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline 100ml EDP – $190 Luckyscent
Etat Libre D’Orange Vierges et Toreros 50ml EDP – £52.50 Les Senteurs

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Comme Des Garcons – Avignon & Heeley – Cardinal

This little post is all about INCENSE.
Yes, yes, it’s been talked about over and over and these fragrances have been talked about over and over. Avignon was my most recent purchase though, I’m not sure if it was the right purchase… but here’s my take on these two “churchy” incense fragrances.

Let’s start with Avignon by the ever wonderful Comme Des Garcons…

Avignon opens with a beautifully spicy frankincense with sparkling citrus and a little chamomile on top. The intensity settles pretty quickly and it becomes a lovely, realistic “church incense”. There are apparantly other notes including patchouli, some woods and stuff which are listed but I’m gonna do this more as a visual thing.

There is some slight vanilla in the base which adds a sweetness to Avignon. Sometimes I think this fragrance feels damp, and at other times bone dry. I think it creates an image of dampness, and cold stone (of course), and that’s how I’m getting torn between the two.

The thing that makes me question my true love for Avignon is the sense of “space” it has. It almost feels that beyond this frankincense, there is a large open space, like the air between the stone walls of this olfactory church. It never feels empty, but more half full. I do enjoy this though! I like the fact it confuses me on every wearing, but it’s kind of tedious, I want it to feel full so I can relax and thoroughly enjoy it but there is something missing, not in the notes list, or the composition itself, nothing more should be added or taken away, but the feeling it gives is only half full. Because of this, I struggle to get close to Avignon, I’m very happy that I own it but I occasionally find it uncomfortable.

I think Avignon is a perfect example of a true incense fragrance, it is complicated, polarizing, and connects with you instantly on smelling it. I think everyone who smells it creates their own visual images on what it represents to them and it gives everyone a story to tell related to it. It’s a must have for a collection and I hope we have a better relationship later down the line :)

Heeley’s Cardinal is a whole other story. Whenever wearing my sample, I just craved it had more throw and just was more intense, that’s why I decided to go for Avignon… but Cardinal just triggers a different emotion in me.

Cardinal opens again with bright citrus’ and a warm, “churchy” frankincense that just glows off the skin. Similarly to the “feeling” I got the first time I sniffed Humiecki & Graef’s magnificent Bosque, I get an image of sunshine when I smell Cardinal.

It is slightly soapy, clean, and completely meditative. If I douse myself in Cardinal, I can close my eyes and my mind will be completely clear. It’s peaceful, calming, and comforting. It is easy to love (I think), and similarly to Avignon, remains as good as linear throughout its life.

Heeley does last a long time, but it remains close to the skin, and only gets softer and softer. I decided to go for Avignon in the end as I wanted something more powerful, and more cold and chilly. However, I learnt from full wearings that Avignon actually doesn’t last any longer, or project any stronger, than Cardinal does on me. I hope to one day own both, or maybe just Cardinal, but for now my Avignon is getting a good amount of wear and I don’t think the bottle will last me that long.

So as it probably sounds, you’d think I prefer Cardinal over Avignon. That is probably true, but they both provoke very different responses with me, and whilst my Avignon one may not appear that positive, or close to heart -unlike Cardinal which was an instant connection- I’ve never had to work so hard for a fragrance to work with me as much as I want it to: and that must mean there is something great there. I absolutely love its scent, its space, and its feel, but it is -to me- far more complicated than it actual needs to be.

Both fragrances are “the” examples of “churchy incense” and I recommend them both highly. They appear to me, polar opposites and yet extremely similar.
What do you think? Am I reading into these far too much? Are they just straightforward citrus/frankincense fragrances? Or are they complex fragrances rich in emotion that tell a different story on each wearer?

Avignon by Comme des Garcons 50ml EDT – £52 from doverstreetmarket
Cardinal by Heeley 100ml EDP – £120 from Les Sentuers

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Humiecki & Graef – Skarb, Askew, Bosque, Geste, Multiple Rouge

This post could be huge if I went into detail about the crazy descriptions surrounding these fragrances released by Humiecki & Graef themselves, so I’m going to just do my bit and leave the rest to the company.

This company piqued  my interest after some noses I love to listen to had mentioned great things about these guys. So, I ordered 5 samples: Skarb, Askew, Bosque, Geste and Multiple Rouge. I haven’t tried these yet, and am going to try them now, and write my initial impressions. I’ve never done this before so it’ll probably be a little shaky and maybe not make much sense but I’ll do my best!

Okay… 1st one:

Hmm, Skarb doesn’t actually open as I expected, this is the only one I read into a more than the others. Bizarrely it reminds me of watermelon, there is a sweet, watery vibe to it, and it smells like a fresh cut of watermelon, not the bubblegum kind of flavouring.
Really that’s all I can pick up at the moment, there’s an underlying sweetness to it but it’s not dominant at all.

This watermelon aromachemical explosion of calone, holds a little bit of earthiness underneath providing a tad of substance.
Something metallic is peeks through, almost in a Secretions Magnifique vibe – the fragrances aren’t similar, but they both have this sour/metallic edge although here, Skarb is droned by aquatic synthetics. The effect is clever – a watery scent that has a solid density, nothing light and aquatic here.

I’m picking up something slightly herbal now, it’s savoury, and not that strong. The watery accord is most dominating, it’s very bizarre actually and somehow compelling. It is almost the scent of drowning… If that makes any sense in an abstract/visual way…

I’m actually finding it very easy to wear, I don’t know what all the fuss is about…
Not much more to say really…

The first blast of Askew is like a quick blast of I don’t know what. I think I quickly picked up cloves, and now before I know it a tart  citrus accord has came in. Instantly from tart citrus it becomes “disinfectant” citrus. It reminds me of swimming pools, not the aquatic chlorine, but the chemical disinfectant smell.

It smells a little sweaty, and now I’ve mentioned swimming pools, I can’t get this image out my head. Great… and now I can smell feet.
There’s some menthol coming in now, and some birch tar from what I can pick up.

I like this, It’s typically masculine but so overtly modernized that drones into something almost genderless.

The mental image for me is swimming pools, but like, all the good aspects of it, not the headache inducing chlorine or the water, more like everything else that’s involved in it. I know this sounds really grim, but it’s not. It’s a fascinating “environmental” fragrance in the style of many Christopher Brosius’ scents. The smell is so familiar and so literal, I feel like I am in a completely different environment.
The slight spice (cumin?) mixed with the disinfectant lemon, musk? and chemical explosion, combine to make this abstract aura of a gym changing room – fantastic!

WOW! This is fantastic! Love the opening blast of Bosque! Gosh I don’t know what this is so bare with me

Oh well, it’s some florals that I’ve never smelt before that’s for start. It’s like a natural, almost “blonde” smelling floral, neutral and kind of hay-like, with a raw meadow grass scent that is fresh, and muted. It smells bright and absolutely stunning. There’s something bizarre underneath it all that’s kind of salty or maybe milky… wait it’s turning a bit strange already.
It’s been like one minute, and I don’t mean to keep referencing it as though I’m trying to bring it up, but this really has got a Secretions Magnifique vibe coming through. I’m still really liking it, but then I don’t find SM all that bad.

Unfortunately the face dropping buzz from the beginning has kind of blended into this slightly sour milky accord. I think I can smell iris now, although it’s not listed in the notes.
Ok so this sour note is becoming more skin like, it’s quite green underneath, the meadow grass become stronger and silkier. I love the combination – a bizarre sour salted milk (sperm accord?) and the freshness of grass. It’s raw and sexual.

This is definitely my favourite so far. It turns from a blast of pure, joyful florals and sunshine into this bizarre milky skin scent. The transition is uncomfortable just for a couple of minute. But now yes, it is a refined, wearable version of Secretions Magnifique… It’s what SM should have been!! It’s natural smelling, and I’m finding it very comfortable. Thumbs up!

Ow wow, Geste now and I love the opening to this too. Kudos Humiecki & Graef! I’m very impressed!
Well, I can definitely pick up violets in this, I didn’t type quick enough to explain the initial opening. It was great, I’ll just say that :)
So yes, 10 seconds later there’s violet, violet on top of a beautiful, creamy musk. There’s some very pale but exquisite amber under there too, it acts like a pillow to support the violets and musk.

This is a very, very pretty scent. This is impossible not to enjoy, a beautifully put together feminine. Sorry if I’m jumping to my conclusions quickly, but I’m taking little breaks to smell this in between sentences.

Yes, delicate, elegant and fragile. I could imagine many people becoming completely attached to this fragrance as a comfort blanket. There’s a slightly “laundry” feel to it too, but it’s really clean and lovely. The delicate violets become slightly more powdery, and the musk becomes sheer, white with a laundry softness to it that is delicate on the skin and utterly comforting. Maybe not the most complex or original of the bunch, but beautiful non the less.

Multiple Rouge opens like an explosion of every fruity scented bath and body lotion in a confined area. It is extremely fruity, but not edible at all!
This gives way to an ozonic note that has surrounded all this fruit, it’s all fuzzy and metallic. Hugely synthetic and exhaustingly loud.
I’ve never smelt anything like it!
It reminds me of hairspray too, it’s almost dizzying! The two words on my mind are “robot fruit” :’)

Picking out the fruits, it’s just a huge bundle, I think I’m getting a fair bit of peach, and berries. These fruits are all leaves and stalks attached giving it a green feel. There’s a dash of immortelle providing a slighty syrupy spice to it, but the overwhelming scent is that of a robot fruit and broken stems. It’s intense, and hillarious.

This is not like any Luten’s fruit mix, it’s not stewed or candied, but neither is it fresh. (Update: I find it very similar to the opening of Byredo’s Pulp). Yep as I expected, I’m making absolutely no sense! Hopefully I’ve put this across visually enough for you to get the jist!

Ok so that’s the basics of all 5 fragrances over and done with. I have to say, I am hugely impressed with these scents so far.
I’m gonna do a quick one liner type of thing on all the fragrances again now, just as they’ve been on for a while:

Skarb – the watery accord isn’t as strong, I can still sense the watermelon notes of earlier, there’s a faint woodsy note under it all. Very pleasant and minimal. Maybe a big dose of Iso E Super in the base?

Askew – kind of reminds me now of Lush/Gorilla Perfume’s Dirty fragrance. Slightly salty/ozonic/mint, not quite as interesting anymore, but I’m sure if it was sprayed, what I loved at the start would last a lot longer. Please remember I have only used an applicator for these out my sample vials.

Bosque - still love it. It’s milky, a little salty, but with those bizarre florals now floating around on the top. Very abstract fragrance, it reminds me of sunshine… :’)

Geste – subtle, but beautiful violet. The effect of this scent almost makes me want to press my nose against my hand as though it’s a pillow. It is subtle, loveable, and comfortable.

Multiple Rouge – Unnaturally fruity, ozonic, slightly metallic, with a strange wet dog note. It’s wearable, very interesting, but I just can’t make up my mind on what I think of it!

All in all, I’m desperate now to sample the rest of the line. Very impressed, more so than I hoped. It’s great to discover something so new and unusual.

These were just part of a huge batch of samples I ordered, and I’ve pretty much been disappointed with all of them, so I’ve now got a great big grin on my face and can say that despite all the crap that Humiecki & Graef have fed us regarding these scents (the huge price being part of that crap), I think they are an exceptionally strong house and I know I’ll be investing in one of their fragrances some time soon.

I’m feeling very inspired – Wonderful stuff!

Please let me know what you think of these if anyone has gave this house a go yet :D

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Tauer – Orange Star & Incense Rose

I absolutely adore both of these fragrances, and in fact, I love most of Tauer’s line (from what I’ve tried anyway). The only reason I do not own a full bottle yet is I simply can’t make up my mind as to what I want first!

I’ll start with Orange Star.
I am not into citrus fruits in fragrances, at all. I read somewhere that this was a citrus for people who don’t like citrus, and the combination between the juicy clementines and incense and amber etc. sounded fantastic.

Orange Star opens with an unbelievably juicy clementine and mandarine, but it doesn’t come across as edible at all. It’s very hard to describe. It is completely mouthwatering! It smells clean, but not “fresh” clean like most citrus scents. It is deep, almost resinous, and reminds me more of a marmalade than a fresh fruit. Although it is not listed in the notes, I am sure I can smell cardamon in there as well as some beautiful sticky vanilla bean, but the vanilla bean is minimal and exceptionally blended and gives me of a texture and sweetness rather than a vanilla extract scent.

After some minutes the patchouli starts to creep in, it is very green, and works beautifully with the tart oranges. On first application, this stage of the fragrance reminded me of Gorilla Perfumes’ Karma fragrance, only this is of absolutely exceptional quality and has far more depth.
The sweetness begins to smell quite honeyed, reminding me again of the tart marmalade in the opening. The patchouli, ambergris and rich honeyed clementines and mandarins swirl around each other in absolute perfect balance all the way through the heart. A slightly soapy note joins in, but it is not unpleasant at all, it works just to keep the incense, patchouli and amber more on the clean side.

The fragrance in the later drydown loses its tartness but stays completely rich and full of life and character.
Really, really wonderful!!

Incense Rose somehow also opens mouthwatering, despite their being nothing edible in it at all. It is tart, rich, and absolutely sparkling. A jammy rose is buried deep amongst some beautiful burning frankincense and cedar wood, and lovely and bright at top is a similar juicy bergamot and clementine. The wood is resinous and soaked in the rose and smoke. Yet again, the rose manages to remain clean amongst all the darkness – and that’s exactly what this fragrance is – dark. It opens bright and sparkling and quickly descends into a spiral of black smoke, rich spicy incense, ambergris and woods with occasional dazzling sparks of bright red bursting from the base.

Patchouli is in there too keeping the fragrance fresh, green, but slightly earthy. At the base is the “Tauerade” combination of ambergris and vanilla and anyone who has sniffed L’Air du Desert Marocain will recognise it at the base of this fragrance, and Orange Star at that. The “Tauerade” is absolutely beautiful, dry, incensey and airy. It literally floats around you like a meditative cloud.

Both Orange Star and Incense Rose have incredible longevity and sillage, I’m blown away by the quality of these and the strong effect they have on me. I would highly recommend both of them to anyone, and I think they are fantastic value for money as a bottle would last me years and years.

Well done Andy Tauer, you are my favourite perfumeur to date.

Tauer Incense Rose & Orange Star 50ml EDP – Euro 85.50 RRP
(The cheapest price I have found for these online is the official tauerperfumes.com site!)

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Montale – Aoud Queen Roses & Oud Cuir D’Arabie

I still haven’t found my perfect oud, but I figured a while back that these two would be a good place to start.
The first on I tried was Aoud Queen Roses by Montale. A rose/oud combination that I thought would be a little calmer on the senses in order to introduce me to the world of oud. Ok, so, Montale probably isn’t the best for a real oud experience, but it’s a pretty good start :)

Aoud Queen Roses opens with what I have no discovered is Montale’s classic “oud interpretation” I’ll say – and that’s not a bad thing! I’ve grown to really like it, even if I’m sure it has very little of the complexity of true oud. Anyway, I’m not “one of those” people so let me carry on. The oud in AQR opens how many people describe as “band-aid-y” but, I’m not American, and my plasters dont’ smell like this. It’s much more of a glue note to me, it’s like a dried gluey-medicinal smell, and I really enjoy it. It is intense and not all that pleasant on first spritz, but it does warm on you.

Pretty much straight after application an over-the-top obvious rose starts to pop through. It’s a bright, soapy, classic rose, and I was a little dissapointed with this at first. I was expecting something a little more complex, maybe earthy or the complete opposite – ethereal. I can understand the great connection these two notes have together, they work wonderfully, but this fragrance just seems incomplete to me, it is relatively linear, and you pretty much of the gluey oud, and the classic rose, squashed against each other but never quite merging together. In the dry down AQR gets tamer and tamer and what you’re left with is a classic rose soliflore, and it’s not that extraordinary. This fragrance isn’t bad, it’s just not what I expected, I still want to find a great rose/oud, but, maybe not from Montale?

I ordered my sample of Oud Cuir D’Arabie as I want “an oud” and I love my leather, and this was supposed to be the best combination of the two. Having received a five star rating in Turin and Sanchez’ Perfumes The Guide (which I have learnt is only good for a brief overview for a fragrance), I thought I was in for something pretty awesome.

Oud Cuir D’Arabie blasts out yet again with blinding medicinal – gluey oud, and a raw animalic leather, it does smell filthy at first, and I love that so much! It’s like a Pritt stick has been wiped on the floor of a stable. This slightly dirty – poopy – leather, starts to calm down after a couple of minutes, allowing the oud note to take more of a centre stage. It seems the Montale’s open with a shout and then their voice runs out pretty quickly. They become much more wearable after just a minute or two.

Yet again, unfortunately, this is pretty much all their is to OCdA… the leather which becomes just a nice, plain, rough leather, and the oud. There is nothing else really here. It starts to get a little smoky some time into the wear, and after a couple hours, there is a faint rose/musty smell, reminicent of the dry down of AQR. After some hours on different arms, these fragrances smell pretty similar.

I would really like to try more of the Montale oud’s, I’m sure there are some wonderful ones out there. But to me, they are simple. I guess this is understandable really as they seem to push out another oud combination 3 or 4 times a year. It took me a while to choose between getting a sample of Aoud Queen Roses, Aoud Damascus, Aoud Rose Petals, Black Aoud etc.

Another thing that confuses me about the Montale ouds, is that, I thought oud was mainly a basenote? After all, it is supposed to be so deep and complex and last for hours and hours, the fact that the oud in Montale appears to be a top and heart note before disappearing into the base, just suggests that I’m not getting the best bang for my buck! Just a thought…

These two samples did lead me on to an oud hunt though, one which I still haven’t fulfilled. My best sample so far has been L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Al Oudh… I know I know! Probably not the best example of a true oud, but animalic, powdery, medicinal, spicy, I just found it an awesome introduction to an oud dominant fragrance and I’ll definitely be getting another sample of that some time soon if nothing else comes my way! I’ve heard great things about Mona di Orio’s Oud, but, I’m weary of trying a sample of something I could never afford.

Any suggestions for me?

Montale available from Luckyscent:
Aoud Queen Roses 50ml – $115 RRP
Oud Cuir D’Arabie 50ml – $130 RRP

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No.8 by Brent Leonesio – Untitled

No.8 by Brent Leonesio by Untitled, Luckyscent’s own exclusive range, is a wonderfully soft musk oil.

Before I tried Muscs Koublai Khan by Serge Lutens, I was warned – as was everyone – about the infamous fecal note in the opening… I was so dissapointed. I have no idea why I wanted to smell this, but I just couldn’t pick it up, instead it was a plush, sweet, cosy musk, probably the best I’ve ever smelt. However after trying No.8 by Brent Leonesio, I could detect the “poopy” musk in MKK, as it is here in No.8 in all its’ glory.

No.8 by Brent Leonesio opens with a soft… “poo” note.

The official notes list: Narcisscus, fur, civet, tobacco, feral musk, oud, black leather.

Now THAT is a very impressive list of notes. With even Luckyscent warning sniffers of the “feral” quality of this fragrance saying “not for the faint hearted!” and the like, I expected a smack in the face of leather, oud and raunchy animalics.
Yes, No.8 opens with pure poop, but it is not a smack in the face. In a way, this makes it slightly more uncomfortable at first. It is a gentle, fecal smell, I can’t tell whether it’s fresh… or stale… not that it should make any difference whatsoever :’)
After about 30 seconds, the musk starts to come through. This is where it becomes reminicent of MKK. However, if MKK was stripped of it’s florals, sweetness and the more cleaner aspects of the musk in the opening, this is what would remain.
It is musky, and undeniably fecal. However it is not aggressive or intense. It is comfortable on the skin, and smells completely natural… worrying yet again. When I first sniffed this, I was quite dissapointed: Where is the oud? Leather? Tobacco? I’m not going to lie… it’s just not there sorry Brent.

The faeces does calm down, over an hour or so. This isn’t the faeces of a wild jungle creature though, it is more that of a bunny… something cute and fluffy. It still doesn’t smell particular nice, but it’s gentle and when you really sniff it, it’s completely harmless. What remains during the dry down is a gentle but dirty musk, cosy and comfortable, it is sweet, but from nothing other than the natural smelling musk. The furry texture makes this a complete skin scent and begins to smell like clean sweat after hours of wear.

 I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed in this, after reading the notes and then trying the final scent, it somehow felt unfinished or unfulfilled in it’s attempt. I can imagine it would be excellent for layering, I am just not into that myself. I will one day own a bottle of this as I believe that Brent has created a perfume that was missing in the industry: a true animalic – and for some bizarre reason it would appear there is something quite sexy about smelling of an animal’s anus…. :|

Untitled No.8 by Brent Leonesio 8ml – $60 available from Luckyscent only: Limited to 100

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Rien – Etat Libre D’Orange


This is going to be more of a recommendation than a review, I just love Etat Libre D’Orange‘s magnificent Rien.

I’m not sure why I ordered a sample of Rien many months ago, I think I was drawn to the rave mixed reviews and the delicious sounding description pushed forward by ELdO. If I’m honest, I have NO idea what ELdO think they have produced but it certainly doesn’t match the description:

“the spicy savour of blackcurrant bays and the musky notes of blond suede” You know what, now that they’ve mentioned blackcurrant, I do pick it up the tiniest bit, but I think it’s in my head… sorry I’m not reviewing yet I’m just giving you some snippets.“Rien is a second skin perfume, a perfume that clings to the body and perseveres in the mind…  As light as mohair and as precious as cashmere, the fragrance envelops skin with a powdered caress.”Powdered? Cashmere? Light? Suede? What the hell! Second Skin? Rien… is none of these.

Rien opens with some crazy blast of aldehydes, they are unbelievably sparkling and bizarre. However, underneath these, is the most bitter, twisted leather/civet/incense concoction I had ever laid my nose upon. The leather is rough, certainly not “blond suede”, it is black, worn and filthy! The incense is deep in there, it is sharp and blended impeccably with the leather. Civet is not listed, but I can smell it in all its’ intensity. It is sharp and bitter and animalic. The civet appears to be the only thing providing any sweetness to Rien.
It is also not a second skin! It is unimaginably powerful, and projects from meters away! One spray, will fill a room in a matter of seconds. So if you’re to try this, go light on the trigger. I adore this scent, but one too many sprays, and I feel queasy!

So, back to the scent. Rien is pretty linear, what you get at the beginning, is there about where you’ll end up hours and hours down the line when it never ends. Bitter leather, incense, animalics, and I’m sure I can sense some oud deeper down in there, it gives it a kind of medicinal edge.  There is really nothing else like it, and Etat Libre D’Orange have done a fantastic job with this, along with many of their other fragrances which I will have to review in time.

I own and treasure my bottle of this, and I know it is going to last me a long longg looonnggggg time. It’s ugliness is absolutely beautiful, and once you work with it and allow it to settle and mellow, you’ll forgive it for attacking you at the beginning. A masterpiece.

Etat Libre D’Orange Rien 50ml EDP – £53 RRP

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