Video: Unboxing and First Impressions of Vintage JMFarina Eau de Cologne

SORRY GUYS! I know I know, two videos in a row to bulk up my blog – SO lazy…
But no worries if you choose not to watch :) The reviews will be back soon… managing two blogs is hard work :|
And my work life at the minute is hugely stressful! Great, but stressful.
Recording videos is like a little “getaway” for me just to natter after work about random shit without the greater, I guess, formality, of a written review.
So here’s another one for you :) Enjoy xxx

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Vintage: Balenciaga – Prelude & Quadrille

Ok I’ve finally succumbed to vintage… it’s happened. I’m snagging up bargains left right and center buying, with a bit of research, buying things that sounds interesting… finding my tastes change slightly or at least my cravings.
These are two that I have picked up in the last week (I figured going by house would be a good place to start…)
Here’s some quick thoughts :)

Prelude

Prelude opens with a sparkly of very alcoholic aldehydes, extremely astringent with a nail-varnish like pitch, and an equally jarring scent. It takes just a short while for everything underneath to fall into place… as it slowly gives in to a slightly abstract, but light handed, spicy/oriental thing.

There’s a carnation/clove spice with just a hint of dry cinnamon – the solvent-notes still pushing hard. There’s a hint of sharp ylang ylang – and the whole thing smells like a higher pitch, more dated (despite it being more recent) Opium-hybrid. There’s a hint of clean rose underneath, and a bracing green accord – yet the whole thing has a slightly “soap-ish” edge initially – with a “musky” through, predictable almost of these kind of old-time, almost cheap-y fragrances.

The rose/ylang dominate with a jasmine note getting louder throughout, paired with the light but bracing spices, with a soft amber/resinous accord underneath. There’s a dose of civet and musk – it has a very old school feel even in the finale… but with a texture almost ozonic. Once the aldehydic accord burns off, it becomes much more enjoyable, getting smoother and more vanillic with a heavy tolu and benzoin base. A smooth, restrained spicy floral that’s very nostalgic, and familiar – I’m sure I look totally out-of-place wearing this, but I surprisingly really enjoy it! It’s extremely refined, very classic whilst being a little too “pristine”… but interesting and easy enough to wear to make this one a keeper <3

Quadrille

Now Quadrille I absolutely love! It opens with again, just a tiny smidge of aldehydes… but develops much quicker, and deeper – into a thick fruit of plum and peach, so dense it’s almost “boozy” whilst still being relatively light. The fruits are gently spiced with cloves and cardamom, all piled on top a thick mossy base.

Quadrille has a very restrained but elegant quality on the skin, a more muted, yet slightly more complex Mitsouko. It is a peach chypre, very delicately spiced with an even deeper colour (the plum). There’s hints of jasmine, just a touch of rose, and a subtle liquorice note that runs throughout. The liquorice jasmine and plum is piled on top of an immediately recognizable and old-school chypre base… a little white musk, and a hint of civet and lots of thick moss.

I find Quadrille to be an exceptionally easy wear, and unlike Prelude, it’s immediately appealing, familiar, with enough of a personality of its own to make it hugely unique. From a distance, it has a relatively subdued but rich mossy throw; with a little heat on the skin, up pops the spicy florals and wafts of liqourice. Gorgeous!

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Bruno Fazzolari – Lampblack & Au Dela

Au Dela

Au Dela opens with a heavy, classical citrus and culinary green accord of pungent coriander, a hint of lemon and bergamot, undercut almost immediately with a dense moss. It reminds me (in style) of Mito by Vero Profumo – a gorgeously sharp citrus opening, a white floral seamlessly blended heart and a green moss base… only this is a little warmer and softer (and just a smidge soapy – neroli?).

The neroli adds a distinctive soapy and somewhat powdery accord in the heart, there’s a little orange blossom and a very transparent, clean jasmine. The powder throughout (which at times seems to come from a vanilla/amber in the base), is a subtle melancholy touch, reminiscent of the accords that run through vintage Guerlain classics and maybe even Roucel’s older work for Dior (although even that smelt a little more modern). It’s not a dated smell, but a reference to fragrances of the past, and it’s very, very nice.

I admit, to me at least, it smells relatively simplistic, or maybe even minimalist… it is beautifully composed and balanced, extremely soft on the skin – but with a lovely throw. A no-frills chypre structure (with a hint of powdery amber) using the bare necessities only, but nicely done: a gorgeous, easy wear.

Lampblack

Lampblack is a beautifully balanced, tarry “thing” up top, the black petroleum-like notes immediately combatted and freshened somewhat by an abrasive and bitter grapefruit and black pepper. It as a very similar “sour-fruit and smoke” vibe that I get in Lil by Olympic Orchids, only the smoke here is more literally… like an undercurrent of rough black leather. The difference between this and a million other smoky leathers is the restraint of it on the skin, and the visual structure it delivers… the leather literally smells “underneath” everything else – whilst the fresh citrus notes up top create something reminiscent (although not scent-wise) of the fresh vs. leather Knize 10.

Whether it is lime leaf (which I think it is), or something else, the sour green of citrus fruits stays for much longer than expected, slowly giving in to a smoky vetiver underneath. Again, as with Au Dela, there’s a signature powder making the whole composition smell more classical, than modern or avant-garde (as these kind of compositions often do) – and that makes a realllllly nice change.

The memory of lime, subtle bitter greens, smoke, vetiver and powder is how the fragrance pretty much stays until the end. Now and again a bit of extra texture is thrown up from a sharp, oily “petrol” note, and then the powder tames the whole thing down. It’s again, surprisingly easy to wear, very nicely done – and an original take on a “leather”.

Bruno Fazzolari Lampblack 30ml Au Dela 30ml EDT – $85 each http://brunofazzolari.com/store/

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Vintage Diorissimo – Christian Dior

I picked this up very cheaply at a Vintage Fair here in Birmingham, quickly sniffing out the bottle to check it still smelt good… it certainly does!

Vintage Diorissimo

Diorissimo opens with a clear, clean and green lily of the valley with a powdery lilac (and a very light citrus). It almost has a slightly “peachy” feel to it in the opening, an not-quite-ripe green peach and maybe even apple? The fruit accord isn’t dominant however, slightly alcoholic even (maybe the top has been tainted a bit… my bottle unfortunately leaks a touch after all…). The lily of the valley isn’t the powerful waxy and slightly spicy beast of the gorgeous Carillon Pour Un Ange, but more delicate, feminine and a touch “soapy”.

There’s a dewy scent of fresh greenery and a little heady jasmine, reminding me of the honeyed jasmine of First by Van Cleef & Arpels (without the aldehydes). There’s a light spice of lily – but all in all, the lily of the valley and lilac dominate… giving off an almost “laundry-clean” vibe, but all round more perfume-y. Whilst the lotv is pretty realistic, the rest of the composition smells undeniable-y dated, although too classical to smell old-fashioned… if there is such a thing. It’s quaint, very pretty, very delicate on my skin but with a spring-like throw (that somehow conjures up green melon? – although it’s not aquatic).

Underneath Diorissimo has the slightest civet rich musk, but it’s cleaner to my nose than many seem to get… all on top of the most subtle transparent woods and green. To me, Diorissimo remains relatively linear, gradually fading away in time not too dissimilar to how it started – fresh from top bottom, seamless, green and floral. Of course it’s not at all a challenging wear, but very, very pretty <3

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Video: Fragrance Purchases January – February 2014

Hi guys

Thought I’d load a quick video up on here for you, just some recent purchases, no biggy… OK, seven purchases :| which is a lot for me! But anyway – enjoy!

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A Smelly Bloggers’ Day Out In London

Myself and Val the Cookie Queen, guest blogger at Australian Perfume Junkies had been chatting recently on Facebook. She told me about an upcoming “meetup” where Portia (APJ) and other guest blogger Michael Borg were traveling from Australia, through Europe, and landing in the UK. After an invite, along with many other bloggers, February the 8th came and we were all stupidly excited about the day :D

Bloom Perfume London
photo stolen from about.com

I arrived at Bloom Perfume in Shoreditch, our meeting point, nearly an hour lot – flustered as hell having trekked my way across town at record speed after my original train was cancelled.
Everyone was in full swing already, the tiny store was crowded with the blur of people sniffing blotters and chatting with each other. I tried my best to slip in as calmly as possible but ended up looking a bit erratic and out of breath.

The group was made up of the lovely Val who has an incredible larger than life personality along with killer taste. She left Bloom with Rubj and Mito Voile D’Extrait’s by Vero Profumo (see?!) <3 The glamorous Portia of course who helped to chill me out by pretty much… well, talking. He gleams non stop positivity and is absolutely hilarious to boot. Michael was charming, has wonderful taste and was keen to sniff various things with me – we share some very similar fragrance tastes. The lovely little Vanessa (Bonkers About Perfume) who I have met up with twice before here in Birmingham, Thomas the Candy Perfume Boy who I had met once before, and his partner Nigel, the lovely Nick Gilbert, Joshua (The Smelly Vagabond) and the gorgeous Tara of Olfactoria’s Travels… were the other bloggers who had managed to show up! Quite a list!

I actually can’t remember much of my time at Bloom with everyone :’) It was a bit of a blur trying to settle in and say hi to everyone… We tried the new Isparta by Parfumerie General and all agreed it smelt a little like Portrait of a Lady, only sweeter, without the patchouli, and not as superior… easily dismissed. Dzhari by Phaedon which to me smelt like prune juice… And at that point, I was pretty much done… I was much more keen to hear everyone elses thoughts than try things myself!
I swapped some samples with a few people, and got to try a sneaky spritz of Dark Passage by Tauer for Tableau de Parfums which was a limited release… a big dark camphorous patchouli, very nice, a little straightforward… but almost “oudy” in its rawness up top… quite cool.

Bloom Perfume Bloggers
Back Row: Myself, Michael, Portia, Nick
Middle: Tara, Nigel, Val, Thomas
Front: Joshua, Vanessa

After this quick sniff around, we popped next door to Poppies – for “The best fish and chips in the UK”… or something like that, an award-winning place anyway! I unfortunately was pretty much puking up my dinner the night before (nice!) having been ill for a few days and near overdosing trying to cure it by the morning on tramadol, codeine and paracetamol ha! So I settled on a drink only… regretting it slightly seeing everyone’s delicious looking food arriving!

We had a bit of a sniff around at the table, everyone had brought bags of samples and I felt a bit stupid not bringing more with me. Still… one of the biggest hits to be handed round was Envoyage’s gorgeous Zelda which Portia hadn’t smelt. One spritz down his top and he was constantly screaming “OH MY GOD THIS IS HUGE! IT’S GORGEOUS!”. Another hit was 1996 by Byredo that Thomas brought, it was a very nice dough-y iris that I didn’t try on myself so can’t remember perfectly… but it’s something I may revisit. Other things worked their way around but I was just kind of sitting to the side having a big natter with Portia about his travels… I was riddled with envy! The amount himself and Michael had done around Europe, in Paris and Austria, blew my mind. Two very passionate bloggers with a heck of a lot more knowledge than they let on! :D

Freddie Albrighton Portia Turbo Smellythoughts
Myself and Portia in Poppies

After all this we trekked to Les Senteurs. Most of the bloggers including Val and Portia parched themselves on the sofas at the back, knackered from all the walking and talking (they had been travelling a hell of a lot over the last few days!). I had a sniff around with Michael and the others, tackling the likes of Eau D’Italie, and sharing my love for Sienne L’Hiver. I explored a little more of the Frederic Malle line again, resniffing Musc Ravageur as I have recently bought a bottle off a member of one of the Facebook fragrance groups and have been super excited for it to arrive! I had saved some money up so knew I was going to buy something, and knew pretty much 100% that it would be Mona Di Orio’s Eau Absolue. I got everyone else to sniff it, knowing full well that it is not something to make you go “WOW” on first spray… it’s a grower, with a wonderful development that captivated me totally on repeated sampling… and yes, I ended up buying a bottle!
I also tried more of Mona’s line, spraying her Ambre on one hand (which was gorgeous musky and raunchy on me to begin with) – Portia said I smelt “filthy!” in a good way I’m sure ;). It settled to something a little more tame and powdery, but still, a very nice accord.  Tubereuse went on the other, which was also a win! The drydown was a little bit too tame for me, but the opening was gorgeous… something I’ll have to revisit… in fact, I think I’ll be revisiting all of Mona’s line again, I seem to be having a lot of success with them now. Thomas ended up buying Portrait Of A Lady after being on the hunt for a good rose all day… I adore the smell of POAL, but it doesn’t work on my skin, I picked up a sample for my mum as she adored it the last time she tried it (along with lots of other samples from Malle along with my purchase).

lessenteurs
becauselondon.com

We also sat and devoured Val’s box of peanut butter cookies she brought with her, which everyone agreed, were “AMAZING!” – the box had a remaining couple left so I stashed them in my bag to take home for the evening… no chance in hell were they going to waste <3 After further sniffings of the Parfumerie Generale line (I still need a bottle of Cuir Venenum), and smelling the fabulous Narcisse Noire parfum on Portia (hairspray and nail varnish as he describes), we said farewell to Vanessa, Thomas, Nigel and Nick… whilst myself, Portia, Michael, Val and Tara headed to Selfridges (to go and meet Val’s daughter).

Selfridges
freefoto.com

Selfridges to me is full of shit I don’t really want to smell, not that everything is bad there, but there is a lot of crappy niche brands at high prices targeting the Arabian market, a lot like Roja Dove’s. Still, Portia had a good sniff around, and came back reeking of some bonfire atrocity by Union, Celtic Fire… which every agreed, smelt like barbecued sausage with tomato ketchup – a less refined, more savoury gourmand version of things like Cologne Reloaded, Lonestar Memories, and Patchouli 24… He also tried the new Hermessence Epice Marine which was a weirdly spicey marine fragrance (who’d have guessed) – that wasn’t my sort of thing, but it seemed to radiate of Portia nicely! Along with a slathering of No.22 Parfum by Chanel, which we all agreed was a little soapier and less plush in its more concentrated form… weirdly.

Tara sprayed on some Coromandel which was gorgeous on her… the only question I always find with things like Coromandel, is how much different is it really from many other patchouli soliflores? I have a difficult time, or maybe struggle to bother, differentiating between them all… still – it was very pretty! I remember trying Mitzah by Dior Privee on Michael who had bought a massive bottle in Paris I believe… it smelt nice enough to me… although a pretty generic amber accord – nice enough, with a subtle rose in the heart… I haven’t found a Dior Privee that’s truly wow-ed me yet.

Mona Di Orio Humiecki Graef

Anyway, after Selfridges, myself, Portia and Michael parted with Val and Tara to head back to Portia’s hotel. Unfortunately the finale isn’t as exciting as it sounds… Portia had simply forgot to bring with him the bottle of Blask that I had asked him to pick up in Austria! Humiecki & Graef isn’t available in the UK, so I thought I’d snatch my chance to grab a bottle of this gorgeous juice, that I first tried in Berlin. So after getting my bottle of Blask from them, and some requested samples, I gave a hug and said my farewells and headed off home. The day was a huge success and everyone was a joy to be around, Portia and Val made me feel very special, despite them being the honoured guests of the daytrip!
I’m sure everyone else had fun, having read the other folks’ write-ups of the day (which I’ll link to below). Hope to see you all again soon <3<3

The Candy Perfume Boy: Australian Invasion

Bonkers About Perfume: A Fishy Fumehead Encounter

Olfactoria’s Travels: Portia Fest 2014

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Blask – Humieck & Graef

The other day I met up with Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies, Val the Cookie Queen and numerous other bloggers including The Candy Perfume Boy, Bonkers About Perfume, The Smelly Vagabond, Tara from Olfactoria’s Travels, Michael Borg and other lovely perfume folk! As Portia was stopping by Aus Liebe Zum Duft in Austria, I asked her to pick me up Blask by Humiecki & Graef. I fell in love with Blask in Berlin, when I was torn between buying it, and Bosque (I left with Bosque but regretted not just buying both!). So although I hadn’t tried Blask for well over a year, I was very excited to finally have a bottle… this is why.

Blask Humiecki Graef

Blask is one of the most difficult fragrances I’ve ever had to describe. It starts with a slightly boozy accord, a very dry mahogany wood, a deep fruity accord that smells like prune? – and a musty wine smell (listed is a red wine accord – but it’s more a wine interpretation than something realistic). It has this subtle fungal quality to it, like mushroom – along with a greenery that is listed as bay leaf… but I don’t quite get that either.

It has a weird personality on the skin, almost vanishing up close when you try to look for it, but it’s throw and aura is huge. It is like at times you can feel it all around you, but when you try to pull it apart it totally disappears. I’m not saying it is light or “hardly there” – it’s quite the opposite. It has a similar feel overall to the weight of Iso E Super (not the smell)… as in, you can smell it, but it can disappear up close. Very very weird!

Overall, after the initial and confusing blast, it settles into something with a ridiculously smooth texture and a little fizz up top. The “fizz” smells to me like violet. A slightly powdery violet and peach – reminding me if anything, of the peachy/fizzy accord in Vraie Blonde… in fact, Vraie Blonde may be the only fragrance I find has some similarities to Blask, but they are still very different.
Underneath the violet, the subtle aromatic greenery (bay?) is paired with the mahogany wood (which I find has a pungent, almost wine-like smell anyway). The fragrance is meant to be a new interpretation of an oud… although there isn’t any oud in here. It tries to play at all it’s characteristics without actually smelling like oud wood, which it bizarrely succeeds at… although in a VERY abstract way.

All on top of this is Humieck & Graef’s signature “weirdness”… the house seems to have this way of making their compositions even more unfamiliar (as if they needed it!) – but it is in no way unappealing. It’s synthetic without smelling a chemical bomb… there’s no heavy aldehydes and zero metallic notes if that’s what you’re thinking by weirdness. The only way I can describe it, is as though they have changed the texture of everything, but you can’t tell what. It smells so unfamiliar.

The drydown is a fruity, dark wood, lightly smoked with a large dose of ever-so-slightly-raunchy suede… with apricot and dried fruits on top with a hint of violet and carnation (yes there’s a tiny bit of clove spice in here too). Listed is “walnut”, and whilst I agree it has this very savoury, slightly salty “nutty” smell, I find it to be an aspect of the wood more than anything. All this talk of wood though, I wouldn’t describe Blask as a heavily “woody” fragrance… I guess because there are so many intriguing facets of it that take it in many more directions than “woody” can simply cover, or classify. Lastly is a heavy dose of “marron glace” in the base, the classic caramelized chestnut smell that seems to run throughout (and I adore that!). At times I get strong hints of amber (and maybe even a touch of myrrh) – but there are so many subtle nuances going on in this I could be hallucinating through my nose.

The throw is gorgeous for the first couple hours of Blask and it then retreats to an equally gorgeous but restrained skin scent… smelling of sweetened, wine-y woods, chestnuts and fuzzy suede… Truly exquisite. Blask is in no way challenging though, whilst the opening may be extremely complicated, what it settles into is extremely comforting and strangely alluring. A modern masterpiece? Very close.

Blask 100ml EDP Humieck & Graef – 150 Euros http://www.ausliebezumduft.de

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AB – Blood Concept

As some of you might know (I may have mentioned it once or twice), since smelling Secretions Magnifiques all that time back, I have been on the hunt for a truly wearable version of it. There are aspects of SecMag that I like, and a million that I don’t. I guess what I’m drawn to is that harsh metallic accord that despite the marketing, and I guess somewhat ironically, smells totally “inhuman”. This metallic accord can for sure be found in numerous compositions, toned down to a level of wearability that it almost becomes non-existent – one example is my beloved Bas De Soie by Serge Lutens. I wanted something more upfront and obvious, a cold and aggressive fragrance, entirely synthetic and almost “heartless”, which led to me to AB.

The first time I tried AB I liked it, but it didn’t blow me away, and in all honesty, it still doesn’t. BUT, I’ve finally succumbed to it and ended up with a bottle (half price I will say – but also I recently found it for even cheaper brand new on an eBay outlet!). The reason I decide to settle on it, despite being put off by consistent bad reviews of the brand, the novelty marketing which in all honesty doesn’t faze me but the negativity of others started to rub off… and also Mercury by Nu_be. Mercury is a new release that has been getting a lot of praise from some noses I respect and having finally got the chance to test it out a couple of times on skin, I thought “This is AB with grapefruit…”. Sure there’s a little more to it, and a little less… but Mercury seems to be AB, and/or a toned down SecMag, with a subtle masculine cologne-like structure running throughout to make it more wearable. Sure it fits the bill of what I wanted, but it’s also double the price ;) I thought “fuck it” and bought what I keep getting drawn to… every time I’d pass it, I’d sniff… it’s not love, but it’s weirdly necessary.

AB Blood Concept

Well after that intro, if you haven’t run off now you probably will…
AB hits my skin with the scent of rubbing alcohol, a heavily synthetic, very cleaning-product-esque lemon, and a hectic overload of an aldehyde chain. After a matter of seconds, it begins to settle and fall into place as a relatively linear accord that will dominate half the life of it. The aldehydic structure isn’t quite the plush, cosy aldehydes of Chanel, and they are somehow even colder and more grating than Stephen Jones. It’s the scent of disinfectant soap, overload with a crystal clear water accord that together, still manages to refrain from the smell of freshly washed hands. Sure, this phase of AB is about as clean as a fragrance can get, but it can no way be placed onto a scale of “natural clealiness”… it is totally abstract.

It’s bizarre how the scent of cold water can be so pungent on the skin, and here, it’s enhanced by a hugely metallic note. The metallic note thankfully doesn’t pair with a lactonic accord – a la SecMag, but occasionally presents a subtle oily quality that does turn my stomach. This oily/greasy quality only pops up now and again, and then is dominated by the clean water and aldehydes. The fragrance is as high polished as the bottle, maybe not so much in it’s actually construction, but the image it presents. Water, hygiene soap and metal, held together by an overwhelming mineralic accord similar to the “pulverized rock” of Stephen Jones. Although I keep mentioning those two fragrances, they aren’t very similar, especially Stephen Jones (that is a true perfume, after all).

I am not deluded in thinking that AB is a perfume, it is merely a smell, more of a creation or an experiment, and it does not smell like it was designed for the skin. Still, I find that concept kind of appealing, smelling so abstract, but not offensive. I guess up close and explored in-depth, AB is pretty offensive, from afar, again, I wouldn’t be surprised if it came across as tame and non-memorable. It smells extremely “fresh”, without being a cologne – but it also doesn’t smell human, it almost blanks out the smell of your skin underneath rather than meld with it. Even in the drydown, the hyper-clean cedar wood resembling that of Artek Standard of Odeur 53 – there’s even subtle trails of cold incense… or maybe I’m just trying to create something out of nothing.

AB is no masterpiece, but it is a fine little piece of modern fragrance artwork. It can easily be dismissed as a novelty, but I’d rather just enjoy it for it’s over the top, intentional weirdness… knowing full well that the creators probably had a laugh making it, imagining the loons, like themselves, like me, who would actually appreciate and try to wear something so ridiculous.

UPDATE: I have worn this continuously for about 3 days, slowly enjoying it a little less each time :|
I like the composition – but I’m now questioning whether this is actually wearable… Unfortunately I don’t think it is. If it continues this way, I might have to say AB was a passing moment in my fragrance collection and send it on it’s way (I have no time for things I don’t wear). I haven’t edited my review because I believe it’s all true… but I can’t wear this.

AB 60ml EDP Blood Concept – £98 http://www.bloomperfume.co.uk

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Encre Noire – Lalique

I had tried Encre Noire a hell of a long time ago after briefly reading about it online and spotting it in a local little fragrance shop. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but then again, I was very new into my fragrance journey, and simply remember being overwhelmed by the dense translucent woody thing that later turned out to be Iso E Super… At the time, I was hoping for a big dark inky thing…
Still! A Facebook friend shared an online link for 100ml of Encre Noire for only £22 delivered, so I sprung for a bottle, having recently been craving vetiver and vetiver only. For this price – it was worth another shot.

Encre Noire

Encre Noire hits the skin with a pretty pure, direct vetiver note. No citrus freshening up the opening (yes!!), not over the top herbal notes taming this into a more “cologne-like” composition (yes!!), just an earthy, dry vetiver… the way I love it. It’s pretty light to begin with but has a nice density; the thick earthiness, whilst dry as a bone, has a weight to it on the skin, and Encre Noire feels like it skips any top notes and greats straight to what you want… if of course, this is what you want.

An unexpected note of mint joins the vetiver after just a minute or two… on first sniff, I was a little disappointed, hoping this wouldn’t trail off into a light minty/green scent. Thankfully, it’s rather nice. Whilst the vetiver is warm and dry, the mint adds a little more texture, it floats above the vetiver in an ever-so-slightly toothpaste-y (at least from a distance) fresh layer, not at all culinary, or too reminiscent of hygiene products! The leading note keeps it in line, and whilst it isn’t my favourite part of Encre Noire… it doesn’t hang around too long. Was it necessary? Well, they could’ve chosen something a little more interesting we’ll say…

The mint gradually fades, leaving behind the vetiver with a sideline translucent greenery that I can’t put my finger on, and the Iso E Super that begins to push heavy in the drydown. So, the Iso E Super (very quickly for those who don’t know), is an aromachemical that almost has a presence rather than a smell… it’s a slightly woody, slightly vetiver smelling, slightly greenish smell with a real weight to it. By weight, I mean whilst it smells almost clear, it’s texture is thick! It blobs on the skin, anchoring ingredients to it, whilst throwing it off your skin as well. Making sense? I guess not. The weird thing about this ingredient is it seems to disappear and reappear from time to time. Encre Noire feels like it’s vanished after a couple of hours, but then give it an hour, and I catch a quick whiff of it as I turn my head. It’s a quality that I can never decide whether I like or loathe, but here, I just go with it.

The late drydown is all vetiver, soft dry woods, a little clean musk with a smidge of liqourice? It’s dry, green, earthy, and nowhere near as “dark” as people make out. The whole fragrance is relatively translucent, but as I’ve repeated too much already, quite “thick” with a (synthetic) weight to it. I wish the mint was non existant… but it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

To be honest, I have actually lived in Encre Noire for a few days now, day and night. I’m drawn to it a lot as something desperately easy to wear, and comfortable enough to want to wear it whenever and wherever. It’s drew a couple of compliments at work which is a rarity (I guess for once because I smell a little more less overpowering and “flowery” hahaha!). Still, there is something charming about Encre Noire… No, it isn’t a “masterpiece” as those guys clearly restricting themselves to the designer and masculine side of the fragrance world often claim, but it’s pretty damn good for such a small price. Recommended.

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