Monthly Archives: March 2012

La Myrrhe – Serge Lutens

I never really thought about sampling La Myrrhe until I read a great review over at Memory of Scent. The review was abstract enough for me to sample this without really knowing anything about it – I love visual reviews like this one, it doesn’t spoil the fun!

So before my sample arrived, I managed to try Icon by Gorilla perfumes and Myrrhiad by Huitieme Art and realized that… actually, I don’t like myrrh! It has a bizarre resinous skin like smell that reminds me of breath, and I feel like I can smell it in the base of most of Mona Di Orio’s fragrances, but I think that’s more of an olfactory association than actually detecting it. Anyway, before I confuse even myself with all these references, back to my point. I was really hoping that La Myrrhe didn’t have that bizarre, thick, dense smell that I didn’t like at all in these myrrh soliflores, and I was right!

Reminding me instantly of Comme des Garcons’ wonderful Stephen Jones (yes I now describe it as wonderful), La Myrrhe opens with a blast of aldehydes – that super synthetic soapy smell that is bright, white, and squeaky clean. I initially detect some citrus which disappears very quickly.
The aldehydes hold onto a translucent fruit scent that reminds me of jammy raspberries – in the same vein as the jammy red fruits in Chypre Rouge – they are well hidden but the texture and colour is there.
The aldehydes break apart a little, giving way to a sweet powdery heliotrope – scattering an almond powder over La Myrrhe. The most bizarre part about this opening is that the sweet fruit, powdery almonds and heavy aldehydes – begin to smell like soda, maybe cherry soda. It has a fizzy feel, with the jammy raspberries turning into the scent of glace cherries – it’s gorgeous.

The best comparison at this point, is to say La Myrrhe smells like Rahat Loukhoum, paired with the coco cola scent of Aziyade, atop a huge bunch of aldehydes a la Stephen Jones. It all slips into place though, and feels like an abstract gourmand meets classical Chanel No.5.

As the heart begins to take full flow, I get a sweet honeyed jasmine, that paired with the opening, has a “root beer” kind of medicinal scent that I absolutely love! It becomes soft and smooth and I think I detect a little of Serge’s signature sandalwood too. Each note rounds out into something luscious and rich but all handled with a light touch. It has a translucency up top with a gorgeous – play-dough textured density at the base. This play-dough texture is the sweet resinous aroma of myrrh and amber.

As the myrrh finally comes into play nearly an hour later on the skin – the bitter almond, red berries and anise note have evaporating, leaving the residue of honeyed florals, the soapy stain of aldehydes, some delicate spice and of course the myrrh and amber. The myrrh is nothing like the breathy, thick incense resin that I am familiar with -  I find it almost impossible to describe. It is sweet, but surreal. It smells like nothing else – and I have really fallen for it.

Turning a deep resinous material into a fragrance of bright transparency and cleanliness is the sort of thing I’m fascinated by – it’s like sniffing a rich amber oriental and it smelling like an aquatic cologne. La Myrrhe is a fascinating fragrance that I highly recommend – it takes some serious exploring as this delayed update of a review has proved (I wrote this review initially 6 months ago and have now decided to re-write it). At first all I got was aldehydes and some imaginary myrrh. After exploring aldehydes over the last few months I’ve been able to pull them apart from La Myrrhe and explore everything else that is going on with it – it’s divine. I’m pretty sure this will be one of the bell jars I come back from Paris with at the end of the year…

La Myrrhe Serge Lutens 75ml belljar – 130 Euros sergelutens.com

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Rahat Loukhoum – Serge Lutens

I kept getting drawn to Rahat Loukhoum, not even really because of the notes list, I was just drawn to it. I actually got this sample for my partner but couldn’t resist a quick sniff to jot down my reviews, especially as I’m trying to explore more of the Lutens’ exclusives.

All I knew about Rahat Loukhoum was that going against the name, this doesn’t smell anything like turkish delight. I also knew that it was often compared to Louve, and I absolutely adore the opening of Louve but it all tumbles into musk too quick.

So, here’s my take on it…

Rahat Loukhoum is absolutely delicious. It is THE definition of a gourmand fragrance. Juicy cherries and almond biscotti create a marzipan covered Batternburg cake scent. It is dense yet light, lovely and sweet but not cloying at all, completely mouth-watering but mature.

The juciness does die down pretty quickly and it becomes more musky after just a couple of minutes. A lovely clean white musk, layered with the powdered almonds and cherry stains sits on the skin delicately and comfortable. There is a lot of vanilla in this also which blended with the musk creates a safe, cosy base for the cake-y-ness of the opening.

I’ve just noticed the heliotrope now, it makes the fragrance a little bit more savoury when you pick up the floral notes but it is delicate and ethereal and creates a little misty haze over the fragrance. With this list of notes, it reminds me of Smell Bent’s Dead of Winter without the anise: heliotrope, vanilla, musk but with some cherry and almonds up top. I wore Dead of Winter today which is why I’m reminded of it.

The longer it sits on my hand, the less foody it gets and it becomes pretty subtle with the cherry notes pretty much vanished now. Unfortunately, I wished the opening went on for longer as this drydown just comes on too quickly – similarly to Louve, it just seems Lutens can’t quite keep ahold of the glorious top notes of these almond fragrances. To be honest, I think I actually prefer the opening of Louve, and I almost want to own it so I can keep sniffing it over and over, but the drydown is just so disappointing in comparison, maybe I need to try it again… I’ll review it sometime soon.

Anyway back on topic:
Rahat Loukhoum is really lovely, but it is subtle, and not as sweet as I was led to believe. I’m glad I tried this, and I’m sure I’ll grow to like it more and more, but it hasn’t bowled me over as much as I’d hoped.

Rahat Loukhoum Serge Lutens 75ml belljar – 125 Euros available from sergelutens.com

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Iris Silver Mist – Serge Lutens

I was desperate to try this fragrance. When my sample arrived, I quickly wrote out my initial impressions in this essay, and have only just revisited it (07/06/2012) and couldn’t believe I’d left it like this. Iris Silver Mist is an outstanding fragrance, and my review just was amateurish and didn’t match. So here’s the new version…

Iris Silver Mist opens so beautiful, it literally leaves me speechless – with my fingers hovering over my keys. In description – it is ethereal, a deep shade of grey. It starts both slight and fragile, and yet so full and dense it becomes an overwhelming intensity.

An iris, so dense and doughy it becomes a solidified mould, envelops the skin with a raw carrot aroma. The wet carrot shards grated atop a thick doughy/bread, give ISM a savoury/wheat like accord, counterbalanced by the light dusting of powder from the iris.

The top is a blinding light, rounded with a glow of careful aldehydes. A smooth, round ball of orris root (from iris) remains damp, seeping out this celestial liquid which embodies the aroma of the carrot, heavenly perfumed powder, a warm dough – whilst a rising note of clove adds a cool, almost medicinal edge. The clove is in perfect balance, never overwhelming, and never melding with the dough-like scent to create anything reminiscent of bakery. It gives the iris an even more abstract, clinical feel, cold and almost heartless.

Underneath the alien floral, is a bone-dry scent of frozen earth. You can just about smell the soil – packed solid, almost dusty. A delicate sandalwood adds to the velvet floor, and a pale musk softens the harsh aspects of the iris powder. The cool, camphorous aroma of clove interweaves with the earth, creating something only just recognizable and familiar. As it becomes visible behind the supernatural opening accords, it is engulfed into a super-being-of-a-scent, and melts into something that becomes only what it is – Iris Silver Mist.

It is melancholy, and yet unifying, becoming tranquil over time. The cool, harsh accords that pierce the smooth regularity, never fully allow you to be comfortable in Iris Silver Mist, and from my experience with it so far – it always wears you – always. Having said that, it is something to slowly become more and more familiar with and it does get more comfortable the more you explore and understand it.
It’s linear nature means it is always predictable but never mundane, and the opening accords of carrot-y iris root, with the medicinal edge of cloves, calm into a ghostly trail that hovers delicately around you all night long.

It is a truly beautiful iris fragrance, and a soliflore like no other. The treatment of the iris note is pushed in every possible direction and expanding until it is incomparable to its core. What I mean is: the single note manages to become many other things – carrot, dough, powder, iris flower etc. It becomes this note of sheer absolute, that manages to morph its surroundings and play with your nose – a rose is a rose, but an iris is so much more.

Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist 75ml bell jar – 130 Euros sergelutens.com

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CB I Hate Perfume – Memory of Kindness, In the Summer Kitchen, Burning Leaves

3 new CB I Hate Perfume fragrances! Very exciting.
3 new first time sniffs I’ll also add, can’t wait to try these :)

Mmmm, In The Summer Kitchen opens very strange. There’s a whole bundle of vegetables, tomatoes, green leaves, earthy potatoes and bell peppers all come to mind. There’s something subtly perfumey and floral underneath it though.
Sniffing it again, it just made me laugh. How fantastic! It’s lovely and brings to mind exactly what the name says.
It smells when you shave the skin off of carrots or you smell soup being prepared. It is both raw and cooked, warm and cool.

This perfume makes me smile huge, I absolutely love it. It probably won’t be considered wearable by a lot of people, and similar to the other CB scents I’ve tried, the resemble places more than perfumes. They are familiar and emotional.
I’m so glad this does what it says, I didn’t want to be disappointed.

A lovely note I’m also picking out is banana skins, similar to how I did in Totem Eclipse by Smell Bent, a note that I thoroughly enjoy. A lot of people seem to note like this as the combination of vegetables and herbs and banana skins reminds them of a garbage bag! To me though, it’s not that putrid, it’s too “perfumey” underneath to be so blunt.
I mentioned herbs there, I forgot to add, there are cooking herbs in here, just a small bundle of I’m not sure what – basil, coriander, it doesn’t matter :) It all works lovely.

As it starts to dry down (which is relatively quickly it seems), a little bit of fresh wood comes through that may be cedar? I’m not sure I’m terrible with naming woods. It makes the composition a lot more stable and just when you feel like it’s too delicate and it will fall apart, the wood provides a sweet, sharp support.
After it has been on for around half an hour, a soapy dishwashing liquid type of note comes in and remains quite prominant. I actually find this quite welcoming as some consider the vegetable notes dirty, this cleans it all up for you :)

The fragrance is relatively subtle (by the way I’m trying these three in water perfume form as opposed to the oil concentrates), with not a lot of projection it seems, but it’s personal anyway, it remains close and a quick sniff will put a smile on your face :D

Mmmm again! Memory of Kindness smells just like my conservatory in the late spring when my Dad has the tomato plants indoors before putting them outside.

The main accord is a strong, green, tomato leaf. It is heady and fragrant and absolutely lovely. It is a sharp twang to it (exactly like if you rub your fingers on the leaves and sniff them) yet the perfume feel completely fragrance and almost “cologne-y”… I would recommend it as a great masculine!

There are bunches of fresh green leaves, some soil and earth and a sharp sparkly tomato leaf accord which is bright and sunny. This fragrance seems a lot more pungent than In The Summer Kitchen and is projecting a lot more. It’s extremely refreshing and I’d love a bottle in the summer, it’s a fantastic hot weather fragrance without the usual citrus and aquatic notes – something I have been really hunting for!
Having said there is no citrus, now I’m starting to pick some up, but it’s a sharp lemon peel note that goes beautifully with the tomato, no harm done :)

I really enjoy this, it’s probably more wearable than ITSK, and if it lasts well, I think I’d get a lot of use out of it, especially in the coming seasons. This is something I will test again and again.

Simple, subtle, and completely unique. A thoroughly enjoyable fragrance.

I actually ordered a sample of this for my partner after he thoroughly enjoyed the opening to Patchouli 24 – the extreme smokiness and the sweetness – but found it too much and a little too savoury (I think it just smells like smoked ham). I have to try it first though I can’t have it sitting here staring at me!

A very strange looking fluid – it’s like milk, translucent and white. Anyway.
Oooh much nice than I thought. Burning Leaves isn’t as horrendously smoky as I thought it would be, I was worried it would delve in the Patchouli 24 mode which was just too extreme for me. It is very smoky and slightly burnt smelling, but with this lovely sweetness underneath.

It smells like so many smoke related things as ridiculous as that sounds! It smells like a bonfire, like toasted marshmallows, my poor attempts at making caramel, and apparently burning leaves – maple leaves I’ve heard, which makes sense. There’s a slightly metallic edge to it which is quite strange, it’s very subtle though, not quite sure why I’m detecting that.

I like this, and I think my partner will, it’s a great alternative if other smoky fragrances like P24, Lonestar Memories etc are too much for you. It has a sweetness that keeps it from being dark and overwhelming, it is instead light and airy but persistent.
It seems to remain pretty linear which is nice, if you like the opening, it’ll carry on like that :)
Just due to my associations, I keep getting a marshmallow note which I’m really enjoying! It’s yet again a straightforward fragrance, quite simple, but I’m learning that sometimes simple is extremely effective.

A really nice surprise!

So happy I got to try these, I have been waiting ages to. None have been a disappointment, and I have realised how much the CB I Hate Perfume line has to offer. What lovely, simple and familiar fragrances. I have found none of them unwearable, and actually wish they were a little stronger (the water perfume argument again).
I will definitely explore more of this line, I feel like I’ve been missing out!

Beautiful, thank you Christopher Brosius.

CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves 100ml water perfume – $75
In The Summer Kitchen 100ml water perfume – $75
Memory of Kindness 100ml water perfume – $80 all available from cbihateperfume.com

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Dirty – LUSH Perfume

I’ve owned the solid stick of Dirty twice now. I didn’t finish my first one, and threw it away. The second was bought for me.
Now, it was bought for me around Christmas time and I haven’t touched it.
Today I had no idea what to wear – I picked up the lids of a handful of my fragrances and gave them all a sniff in hope of being inspired. After a few moments, I just grabbed the Dirty stick and rubbed it over my wrists and neck.

On my way to work, I had a grin from ear to ear, and I realised… I absolutely LOVE this scent.

The last time I owned “The Dirty stick” (my partner reminded me) was late summer last year and I wore it solely when we went on holiday to Brussels. Something about this fragrance just makes me gleamingly happy, and I have only realised this today.

So…

Just to confirm, I’m reviewing the solid perfume… the spray which I have also tried is pretty much identical but I just wanted to clarify :)

Dirty opens very herbal, completely refreshing, and a little bit spicy. I know I’m not being specific there sorry…
After a matter of seconds, this complicated stir of top notes settles down to something much more recognizable.

The main accord throughout Dirty, is that of a stale spearmint – some dried chewing gum that remains feeling damp and dense. It’s cooling, refreshing, and completely baffling. I choose the word baffling as once you’ve gotten your head around the mintiness, an ozonic sea breeze freshness supports it, along with some of the initial herbal green which I read in the Gorilla Perfume booklet to be thyme and tarragon. I don’t actually recognize it as thyme, but maybe that’s because it doesn’t smell like the cooking herb I’m slightly more familiar with, it’s much fresher and damp. The marine notes are perfect – a tiny bit salty, maybe even a little seaweedy with a spacial, airy feel.

There’s a tiny squelch of bitter oakmoss in the base that you can only just smell throughout the heart as it is completely smothered by the spearmint.
If I read this review without trying Dirty, I’d have left the page as soon as I read “spearmint”, the words “cooling and refreshing” would have made me run that little bit quicker. True that I have been intrigued by mint notes recently, but this one is my reference. This is everything that I should hate in a fragrance, but something about it is utterly compelling.

I really like this in stick form. Surprisingly it lasts me about 8 hours, with a good 2 hours projection just from some good rubs across the neck and wrists. I will get the spray for sure when it runs out though as I am desperate to lavishly splash it all over myself this summer!
Anyway! I’m getting ahead of myself.

The great thing about Dirty, is it manages to smell familiar, comfortable and yet completely unique. It is the most perfect summer fragrance I have come across and it makes a complete change from everything else in my wardrobe.

Back to the scent again, it remains pretty linear, what you smell at the beginning is how it will end, and it probably takes some time to fall for, it’s not an instant love that’s for sure. It is masculine, uplifting and completely non-cologney which is probably why I enjoy it so much.
So, sorry for the short review, but there really isn’t much more I can say about Dirty. The last thing I’ll add is, go to your local Lush store and give it a sniff!

Gorilla Perfume Dirty 30ml – £20 Lush
… BARGAIN

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Mukhallat Dahn Al Oudh Moattaq – Ajmal

Wow, so… this looks like a random one hey! So, how did I come to acquire a full 60ml bottle of this Arabian fragrance?

Well, after a rant on Basenotes about my terrible failures in choosing samples and spending too much money hunting for things I hoped to love, I was thrown recommendation after recommendation.
I said in my post that my new hunt was for:
1. An oud.
2. A complex, earthy scent.
3. Anything exciting/challenging/unique blah blah blah

Anyway, my main hunt was for an oud – I ending up ordering samples of numerous Montales including the recently reviewed Red Aoud catastrophe and was convinced that the only oud that I found wearable, was L’Artisan’s - and I was ready to click the “buy” button until a generous Basenoter sent me a private message:

“Hello chum,
This stuff will really challenge you if that is what you truly want. I received it as a swap and it is just too much for me. It is a beautiful bottle but the animalic juice inside it is just too much for me. It is 60ml of Mukhallat Dahn Al Oudh Moattaq. I’m a newcomer to this hobby so you might have more of an idea what that is than I do! Anyway, I’m happy to send it to you at no charge. If you want to send me a few samples in return then fine.
All the best, Gavin. “

Wow! Could not refuse that offer. Now, I’m a newbie to the hobby too (although I don’t like to think so), and I had no idea what Mukhalalabaoudamotta was, nor did I know what brand it was by, or anything about it basically.
So after a quick reply politely screaming “YES YES YES”, this showed up on my doorstep a few days later!
In the mean time I had briefly looked into this and discovered it was by a brand named Ajmal… I had never heard of it and the website was bizarre to use. I had not explored Arabian ouds as I felt that they were expensive and I wouldn’t be able to appreciate them… or pick one, so having one pretty much chose for me was wonderful – and this is what it’s all about…

Mukhallat Dahn Al Oudh Moattaq, or, MDAOM which I will no refer to it as, opens with a pungent bang! It is sweet, super medicinal, super rosy, and super lovely! I have no idea what real oud smells like but I’m guessing this is it. Similar to what Le Labo’s Oud 27 does, the oud shows every possible face – it darts from sour, to glue-y, to intensely woody so rapidly you can’t keep up.

The rose is very classical, it is fully bloomed and very pretty. I don’t normally like classical rose, but this rose has depth much more than the flatness of the Montale offerings. The oud is full volume in this, and whilst I do really enjoy it, it is really hard to wear (and maybe even stomach if sprayed quite liberally). For a while, the rose and oud sit and scream at your nose. The two of them pretty much burn out every hair in your nose. The feel is so different to that of the Montale rose/ouds I’ve tried though – yes they scream at you also, but they appear as two flat accords that are easily distinguishable and almost predictable. There is so much going on in this with its bizarre sour/animalic aspects that you almost want to turn your nose away.

The amber in the centre of the fragrance is also lovely, deep and resinous and very traditional to this style of perfumery (so I’ve heard!). MDAOM also has a huge musky dollop in the centre of it, it’s animalic, slightly powdery, but overwhelmed still by the Turkish rose and oud.
This combo persists for hours and hours and hours. Surprisingly, my partner (who dislikes the opening immensely) smelt it on me at the end of the day, not realising what it was, and said it was a really sexy smell – the only other fragrance he has said this about was Cuir Ottoman which is his favourite on me. He’s right, it is musky, powdery, oudy and ambery with that faint rosy haze in the foreground.

The sourness of the oud settles down pretty quick and becomes much more wearable after about an hour, but it is a hard hour to sit through if you’ve sprayed it on your neck ready for the day ahead.
I do really like this fragrance, it is the best rose/oud combo I’ve tried, and with there being practically no in-depth reviews of it online, I almost feel as though I need some re-assurance that this is a good fragrance! I’m so used to reading positive and negative reviews and I can really see how they influence my reviews as I often rely on them just for a kick of confidence that my nose is correct.

Anyway. As I said, I’m really happy to have this, it’s a stunning bottle, a fantastic and complicated fragrance – on par with Le Labo in the challenging oud genre, yet there’s that authenticity about it which to me makes it a little bit more special (to me at least) and a drydown that makes it completely wearable :)

If you can find it, I recommend it!

Ajmal Mukhallat Dahn Al Oudh Moattaq 60ml EDP – ???

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Dzongkha – L’Artisan Parfumeur


I’ve never really understood Dzongkha, or it’s appeal. I have recently started appreciating this moment of Duchaufour creations, so thought I’d give it a full review (and a proper sniffing).

Dzongkha opens with a bizarre semi/savoury fruit note that after reading the notes list, completely makes sense – lychee. I should have picked it up really but, it’s not particularly a fruit I’m very familiar with. Underneath this I get almost a parchment paper type smell that I’m guessing is a super rooty iris. It almost smells bready/doughy. I like this phase of Dzongkha much more than I used to.

If I hunt real hard, finally after a minute or two some green cardamon shows up and provides a lovely bit of sweetness and spice. The feeling is doughy, yet still light and airy. Not long after I’ve wrapped my head around the lychee, which shortly disappears, and the vegetal iris, a light smoke of incense hovers in front of everything but isn’t particularly strong. It almost has more of a presence than a scent.

Underneath the iris and the incense is the vetiver, there’s probably some wood there too but it’s not letting me know it’s there just yet. The vetiver is slightly earthy and works well with the iris and incense to create a fragrance – dare I say it – so bland, that it is actually really pleasant.

So I just used the word “bland” to describe Dzongkha, I don’t want that to come across as a kick at it, I do quite like it. I almost consider this the Duchaufour reference and describe others such as those I reviewed recently (Paestum Rose and Sienne L’Hiver) to all have a kind of “Dzongkha feel” to them. It is a very nice and unusual fragrance and I understand it when people say it is meditative – although my meditative fragrances are much more literally (Cardinal for me).

Whilst I wouldn’t want to wear Dzongkha – I do find it just a tiny bit fascinating. It smells to me more the scent of a place, than a personal fragrance. It has a great atmosphere to it and is just a touch less melancholy than Sienne L’Hiver’s literal landscape feel. Whilst I prefer the latter, I have come to understand Dzongkha a little bit more.
I have yet to find a Duchaufour scent that I really really love…

L’Artisan Parfumeur Dzongkha 50ml EDT – £55 artisanparfumeur.com

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Red Aoud – Montale

I’ve been intrigued recently about the mix of oud with gourmand notes. So I decided to give Red Aoud – another random colour/descriptive word/rose anatomy and oud combo- by Montale a shot! I’d read this was their gourmand meets oud offering and people seem to like it…

Red Aoud opens with the smell of pepper – as in, red bell pepper… and biscuits, if I need to be more specific, amaretto biscuits. It’s…interesting, and I actually kind of like this bit. The bell pepper smell disappears relatively quickly (thankfully) but it leaves behind a spicy stain.

I also smell some peppery rose, although it’s pretty well hidden. Instantly, kind of out of nowhere, comes a big dusty saffron blast which pretty  much takes centre stage from here on. If all of this sounds like too much, you’re right, it is. Just like Sex Panther, this stuff stingsss the nostrils.
The feel from here on is a dusty saffron, some spicy Montale rose, the faintest…faintest dribble of oud, and some bizarre spicy biscuit smell which all together melds into a cocoa kind of smell… It leaves my confused face frowning like reading this most likely does.

Red Aoud smells more like a candle than a personal fragrance. I really couldn’t imagine wanted to smell like this. The blend is so overwhelming it almost reminds me of a headshop - it smells very hippyish, but not in the typically patchouli/joss stick kind of way. You’ll have to smell it to realize what I’m talking about.
The oud is only just about there, so, it’s not an oud soliflore that’s for sure, but then again thankfully it’s not another failure of a rose/oud combo belched up with a new name.

It is interesting, I will give it that. Unfortunately though, it doesn’t smell good, and that’s the main thing.
The bizarre thing is, I actually really don’t think I’m exaggerating, it just sounds like I am, and I’m finding myself re-reading what I’ve written to try to tone done the complicated mess of description.
So I’ll sum up with my usual:

All in all, a bell pepper stained biscuit clouded by a bundle of dusty saffron, a traditional rose and some gluey oud blended together to create a hippy lover’s cocoa…

Red Aoud Montale 50ml EDP – $110 Luckyscent

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Paestum Rose – Eau D’Italie

Paestum Rose opens recognizably Duchaufour… It has it’s similarities almost immediately to my recently reviewed Sienne L’Hiver. It is a lovely, traditional yet earthy rose, with a bizarre vegetal musk hovering over the top of it.
This lovely and somewhat delicate opening gives way to some really nice spiciness and a bit of incense. The incense is that similar to other Duchaufour creations, it is airy, and more oriental than orthodox church. The green spices and slightly peppery twang calms down relatively quickly and lets the pretty rose take lead.

The scent from here-on remains relatively linear, which is a shame really. The opening has quite a lot of promise with a little kitchen basket full of herbs and spices to get you interested but falls a little flat.
As the rose continues, some lovely woods and a little bit of patchouli are deep underneath. They don’t provide any definite earthiness or stand proud and loud, instead they sit patiently at the base and stay there, just making sure that the rose doesn’t wither too quickly. A little vetiver joins in but again, it’s just a subtle support and a little subdued, there needs to be more going on in this.

Paestum Rose feels pretty transparent, remaining linear with the standout notes of rose and patchouli leading the fragrance to its finale. That finale is a much paler rose, patchouli, vetiver and a little wood, the incense still just a whisper.

It is a very nice, simple scent. But that’s the only problem for me, it’s a little too simple and safe and with such an unusual and emotional fragrance like Sienne L’Hiver being created by the same perfumeur for the same brand, this just seems like nothing in comparison.
Whilst I can appreciate it, Paestum Rose isn’t something I would wear, there are much better rose/patchouli or rose/incense combos out there.

Eau D’Italie Paestum Rose 100ml – £87 Les Senteurs

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Les Nombres d’Or Vanille – Mona di Orio

Vanille doesn’t smell like a vanilla soliflore on opening. It is semi-sweet, semi-creamy vanilla, with a sharp green twang and a boatload of orange rind. The spicy notes of rum merge with the vanilla and orange to create something familiarly boozy, but thankfully subdued. The boozy kick dies down relatively quickly but the orange rind still present.

The combination actually reminds me of the scent of a Lush body wash – non in particular, but more so the feel. It has this creamy texture to it – heavily scented with almost clashing, loud notes in the typical Lush manner, only here it is slightly more restrained. Ok so this is a little nicer than that… the orange rind begins to soften, and a very very subtle clove note comes in which is completely welcome, but almost predictable with the orange/vanilla opening. It begins to creep into gourmand territory that isn’t quite sweet enough to be delectably edible.

The vanilla after just a couple of minutes shows it’s face more – it has a slight green edge, and is a pretty true to life raw vanilla scent. There is no sweet vanilla extract or ice cream going on here and it feels like quite a new take on fragrant vanilla. Unfortunately though, I don’t find it particularly attractive, almost like the sweet, loveable aspects of vanilla have all been pulled out.

The fragrance continues to feel comfortable, dense yet light on the skin, and has the feel more of a cream or lotion than a fragrance. It is similar to how I feel about L’Instant De Guerlain Pour Homme Extreme – everyone loves the cocoa in the drydown - to me it smelt like a flimsy cocoa butter that was neither sweet enough, or even interesting enough. Vanille after a short while is a desweetened, almost savoury vanilla, with a light green spice of maybe cardamom?… and still the dried orange rind.

Here however is where my main problem with Vanille comes in. Mona’s base always pushes through her fragrances and if I’m completely honest – I find it repulsive. I’m not sure if she uses myrrh in here, but it has a similar kind of “breathy” feel but there is something about it that I find extremely uncomfortable. In Vanille, the base intermingling with the vanilla creates a true to life egg smell. If I pull my hand up to my nose quickly for a sniff, the first thing that hits me is this warm egg note which literally turns my stomach. I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone else picking up this note, so try not to be put off – I can’t get rid of it throughout the drydown though, so after the first 15 minutes, Vanille is a complete failure on me.

Vanille has a very pleasant density on the skin, whilst having such heavy notes of vanilla, booze, a long-lasting citrus note, and some cooking spice – it remains light on the skin with a depth to it that smells like it is coming from afar. Whilst I don’t enjoy it myself, I can understand it being called a brilliant vanilla soliflore - it isn’t the most original pairing of accords, but the notes are cleanly put together, of great quality, and providing you enjoy the Mona-Aid, a long-lasting drydown of mixed creamy woods and amber.

Working my way through the Les Nombres d’Or line, it is a real shame that I’m not enjoying this work due to the perfumers signature… Maybe I’d prefer her older more slated work, what was that description Luca Turin gave? “a powerful sweet air-freshener note overlaid with a loud civet fart” Mmmm… that’s more like it!

Mona Di Orio Les Nombres D’Or Vanille 100ml EDP – £125 Les Senteurs

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