Monthly Archives: May 2012

Versilia Vintage – Ambra Mediterranea – Profumi Del Forte

Versilia Vintage – Ambra Mediterranea or VVAM as I will call it from now on, opens with a beautiful rich, sweet, slightly powdery amber – similar to my beloved L’Eau D’Ambre Extreme by L’Artisan Parfumeur, only here there are some exquisite notes piled on top: some bright, juicy orange and a delicate air of green herbs that instantly tumble into a waft of deep smoke, rising from the base.

Within literally a minute, what started as extremely pretty and bright, becomes something with a dark heart – a burnt, smoky trail, a deep contrast to the glowing amber. A shard of cedar hits you straight between the eyes, and paired with the black smoke, creates a harsh masculine edge to this otherwise classical amber. The best way I can describe this is: L’Eau D’Ambre Extreme, meets a dash of Lonestar Memories, with an added dose of harsh Lutens’ cedar.

A de-sweetened vanilla adds a slight, but much-needed creaminess to the composition, but doesn’t completely smooth out the many jagged edges. I think there’s a waft of frankincense in there too, a sharp tangy dose of it that creates a slightly dusty atmosphere and an almost ghostly incense. Ghostly because it is only just detectable – its presence is there but the surrounding notes completely overwhelm it.
Some patchouli begins to creep in at the end, working wonderfully with the amber to create a green, musty partner.

The thing is – I don’t like it at all. It seems just like I said – two different fragrances combined. But, here it doesn’t seem to work as well as Lush’s accident – Breath Of God, but it instead never blends (for me at least) into a seamless amber fragrance, and I find the composition extremely uncomfortable. The bitterness of the smoke and woods is so intense and sharp, that it cuts straight through the lovely amber and creates this sickening intensity of both extreme sweetness and bitter smoke. It almost seems to curdle into a lumpy bowl of unappetizing accords and I want nothing more than to wash it off. It started with so much promise…

As boring as it sounds (and if you have any idea of my tastes you’ll know generally I’m not boring), I think I prefer my amber with simplicity. It is such a wonderful accord (labdanum, vanilla, benzoin) that is complicated and beautiful in its own right. Now don’t get me wrong, I love complimentary pairing notes, but the amber accord is so dominating, that I think if making a soliflore, it really does work best when it is the leading player. An example of an oustanding amber with numerous complimentary partner accords is Tauer’s classic L’Air Du Desert Marocain. Everything there works in exquisite harmony to create something outstandingly beautiful. Here in VVAM, I find the creation ugly as sin.

Worth trying though for amber lovers, do try and not be put off by my negativity, I can thoroughly appreciate the idea and can see how people would enjoy this. I have heard many claim it to be “The Best Amber” and such, but for me, it is a clumsy, unnecessary combination of accords that doesn’t work as intended.

Profumi Del Forte Versilia Vintage Ambra Mediterranea 100ml EDP – $240 luckyscent

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Aroma Chemical Study Vol.1

So this is a new thing I’m going to be doing, I’m sorry if it bores some, but I’ve been doing a little bit of study into aroma-chemicals and natural ingredients recently. I’m going to start with my Aroma Chemical studies, and do a little bit of Naturals study in between.

The reason for this is to expand my knowledge – have a record for my thoughts, and also to briefly educate (in the most basic sense of the word) some readers who also aren’t too familiar with these synthetics. I rarely mention chemicals in reviews, but every now and again it’s hard not to. So here I will very gradually explain my personal viewpoint on different chemicals, which can be extremely fascinating experiences in themselves.

I’m going to start with some of the most basic and commonly used of the bunch, and will then explore some of my favourite, complicated, almost avant-garde chemicals that I’ve become slightly fascinated by.

So, here goes the first post :)

I’m starting with one that everyonneeee should have heard of by now: Iso E Super

I was hoping to link some visual images to each of these, but with Iso E Super, it’s a hard one. The scent of it conjures up so many thoughts, that I couldn’t cram in enough mini-images without this page being a complete mess. To be honest, I’m trusting Google that this is the correct structure of Iso E Super – if it’s not then I apologise for my terrible start to this!

Anyway. Iso E Super is instantly recognizable if you’ve smelt Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules – a fragrance which uses this chemical, and this chemical only – to create a minimal yet effective (for some) fragrance. If you’ve smelt Encre Noir by Lalique, or even Terre D’Hermes, then you should recognize this scent.

Iso E Super is described as many as: smooth, woody, velvety. It is basically used as a harmonizer, which smoothes out other notes and basically rounds off any jagged edges. It is considered universally liked with its smooth, slightly woodsy odour.

Me? I don’t like Iso E Super. It smells very sweaty to me, and not in a nice raunchy cumin way, or a dirty musky way. Instead it almost reminds me of really cheap cologne – it is like the stain of cologne days old on dirty skin. But it isn’t as full and pungent as it sounds, it is subtle and at times it becomes completely un-detectable, before it shows up again, and disappears again…

Yes it is smooth, woody, a little bit green and earthy even, but it has this aftershave/shaving foam cleanliness to it which I really don’t find appealing. It is unusual, somehow attractive to the nose, but mediocre on its own. I’m sure it does work wonders in some compositions in moderation, but providing the bulk of a modern fragrance – the novelty is soon to wear off and the scent remains a dull, flat empty space of unattractive velvet-wood.

Calone is a recognizable aquatic chemical that I’m sure is used in many many designer (and some niche) fragrances – specifically aquatics of course.

It has the instantly recognizable odor of watermelon – a pale translucent scent of watery fruit, with a slightly green sweetness to it. A saltiness becomes recognizable a couple of minutes later on paper, and whilst it smells juicy – it also smells completely inedible.

I’m pretty sure this is used greatly in Humiecki & Graef’s Skarb, providing that almost surreal aquatic landscape atop the base notes, and also in my recently reviewed S-ex by S-Perfume. It’s use in S-ex is pretty ingenious, pairing it with a completely contrasting animalic leather and plastic accord and took Calone completely out of it’s usually territory. If only more houses would find creative uses for these aroma-chemicals – even the most dull could be used in great ways.

So yes, watermelon, slightly salty – green, fresh, juicy. But with a bizarre density to it that makes it smell like water, whilst not being particularly thin in weight.
I’m not a huge fan, but it is an unusual chemical on its own.

Linalool can be read on most labels that contain something possessing a scent, namely cleaning products?
It is probably the most commonly used aroma chemical.

Linalool is basically a citrus chemical blast. It is instantly reminiscent of bleaches, kitchen cleaners – just strong, unpleasant, industrial citrus.

It does however have this slight creaminess to it that provides a slight bit of smoothness. It is an almost neutral harmonizer that blends notes together with ease, providing some anchorage for light citrus notes at the same time.

On its own, Linalool is unpleasant, and it’s surprising it is so commonly used, but these chemicals on their own are normally used in great dilution. Linalool however can be used up to 12% of an entire composition, which is quite a scary thought if this is really this case in some designer releases for example.

It is surprising what surrounding notes can do to an aroma chemical with an already potent scent, but the thing is, a lot of these provide more of a “feel” than impart a recognizable scent. Many people can’t detect Iso E Super for example – it has more of a “feel” which is why people describe it as velvety, than an actual smell. It provides a texture to a fragrance, which is what a lot of these chemicals do. Sometimes it seems these can be used to cheat, other times enchance.

Having been exploring natural perfumes recently (Aftelier), it does reinforce the great beauty of naturals, but I do believe chemicals of course have their place as some of my favourites wouldn’t be favourites without them. I hope this post hasn’t been too boring, and it’ll be a little more exciting when the more interesting chemical concoctions come along – they are like mini niche scents in themselves!

Until next time :)…

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Patchouli Empire – CB I Hate Perfume

Today, I received the most amazing package from an extremely generous Basenoter. Inside was a whole bunch of CB I Hate Perfume samples (including some I have been desperaatteeee to try!), and on top of those freebies, was a whole pile of other freebies: a bunch of synthetic musk ingredients, and some sample vials of different varieties of real ambergris tinctures! Amazing stuff.

So, I figured I’m going to take my time through these samples, but to be honest, I couldn’t resist cracking out at least one, giving it a wearing and writing about it. I have just loved all the CB’s I have tried so far, it is without a doubt one of my favourite brands and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to try more of these.

I picked out Patchouli Empire as my first write-up. To be honest, I hadn’t really looked into this one that much as I’ve been much more intrigued by the romantic stories of other series, and the more literal atmospheres of them. However, I’ve been craving patchouli like mad recently (and I don’t really consider my bottle of Intrigant Patchouli a real patchouli – there’s so much more to it). I’ve actually got a calculated blind of Borneo 1834 on its way, but that’s going to take some time to arrive :)

Patchouli Empire is apparently an all natural blend of five patchouli’s, and with my recent exploration into naturals – namely Aftelier’s brilliant line, I figured this would be a good starting point of this huge batch of samples!

Wow, this patchouli is completely not what I’m used to. It opens with a tart,  almost industrial citrus (bergamot), and a big crack of black pepper. It literally smells sour and medicinal, and the citrus mixed with what I’m guessing is this patchouli, creates a citrus/tea scent that is both bitter, and intense.

The black pepper dies down, and the citrus only just tones down a bit. The patchouli underneath is so different to what I expected, it’s not at all the dank, green, full of life earthy patchouli that I know, but instead has this fresher, leafy quality to it. It couldn’t be described as “hippyish” as it doesn’t have any of that delicious, masculine stuffiness to it – here the patchouli is much lighter, it has an aura like there has been patchouli here but not any more.

As time goes on, the more familiar patchouli does come forward, but never thoroughly. Yet this sour quality still remains, along with the bitter “tea leaf” quality. Underneath the patchouli (which to me doesn’t seem like the main player in this although I’m sure it is), are a bunch of woods. A rough shard of cedar (I think), adds an unapologetic prickle to the base, whilst I’m sure there is something slightly smoother in there as well, but I wouldn’t be able to guess – another wood is all.

The fragrance remains relatively linear. It is definitely not what I was craving, but surprisingly it does get a little more appetizing as time goes on, maybe I’m just getting used to it though. The scent is so familiar, but I have no idea what it is; definitely something you can encounter day-to-day – it has a kind of industrial cleaning product aroma, and the dirtiness that goes along with it.

I can’t say right now that I’d enjoy wearing this, I actually can’t think of when I ever would want to wear this, but I’m so glad I tried it. This has opened my eyes a little to what patchouli can actually smell like, I’d have never recognized it otherwise. As Christopher Brosius states on his site: “…quality plays an important part and I came to realize that there is patchouli & PATCHOULI. Depending upon its age, variety & origin, patchouli can be astonishingly subtle, rich & beautiful.” which basically says that such small differences in batches of patchouli, can have a completely different scent to others, and this is one that I wasn’t familiar with at all. I will keep trying this though as it is like nothing I have smelt before, and who knows – I may start liking this super sour scent.

So, I’m sorry that my first new CB I Hate Perfume fragrance review was a little so-so, but there is much more exciting things to come and things in my sample pack which after one little cheeky sniff, I’ve pretty much said “WOW” too already. I can’t wait to stick my nose into these further :D Maybe I’ll finally find one to settle on… or two…

Patchouli Empire CB I Hate Perfume 15ml Absolute – $105
100ml Water Perfume – $90 – both from

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Oud Luban – Aftelier Perfumes

Originally, I intended to review both Oud Luban, and Sepia in one post. I thought that although I enjoyed Oud Luban, I didn’t have enough to write about it. So I planned to take both of Aftelier’s oud fragrances and pair them.

I was wrong however. I started with my review of Oud Luban, and could have written pages more. As usual, what happens with me when I start writing, I understood this fragrance more than any other time I’ve tried it. I will be honest, before this review I had only tried Oud Luban a couple of times, and always whilst trying other fragrances – mainly from my Aftelier sample box, and I never gave it the attention I needed to gather my thoughts properly on it.
Wearing it solely for the last hour now (I wrote my review below before this), I feel I’ve been able to understand (and transcribe) Oud Luban in its full, kaleidescopic colour.

Oud Luban is a solid perfume. I haven’t had that much experience with solid fragrances aside from the cheapies at Lush. I do like solids though – not as much as a spray, but they make a nice little intimate change and they seem to behave differently on the skin.
Handling even my little sample of Oud Luban is like holding something that I feel is too out of my league. I’m extremely delicate with it and apply it like it’s some kind of magic potion :’)

Firstly, I love the look of this solid. The natural essences have all left their little imprint on the perfumed wax, with little darker and lighter specks scattered throughout. It looks just as lovely as a brightly coloured liquid.

Oud Luban slides onto the skin with a brilliant, rich  orange and a dash of tangy frankincense. It feels bright and elating, with the incense providing a delicate chain into the much darker base.
Oud Luban already has the aroma of oud surrounding the top, like it has all the higher notes enveloped in an invisible grip – giving them their chance to shine before pulling them back in. Becuase of this, the top is like a moment of unexpected surprise, like you’re catching this rare glimpse of the most wonderful almost resinous orange peel and frankincense – your nose forces you to appreciate it whilst it lasts.

After swirling around in this perfect blend to begin with, the (8 types of) oud’s personality(s) come forth. The aroma is warm and inviting, but with this contrasting cool almost camphorous edge. It has a beautiful cleanliness coming through from the citric stain of the blood orange, whilst holding a typically sublime dirty aspect – a slightly (excuse my unoriginal description) barnyard odor that somehow feels as comfortable as the scent of human skin. The medicated aspect of certain ouds does peek out, giving us that familiarity with the synthetic ouds that most of us are much more familiar with, but it feels indescribably richer, smoother, almost as though it’s making a joke out of the fact you buy into these harsh chemical “oud” explosions. Whilst the oud sounds like it is a nose singeing powerhouse, it is not at all. All these qualities are wrapped up in this fragrant blanket of surrounding benzoin and rounded out with a super smooth opoponax. These create a sheer, vanillic cover for the oud, keeping it tame, but in perfect balance.

Oud Luban is quiet, but it shouldn’t be any other way. It melts into the skin so perfectly and the scent becomes so familiar and welcoming after the first wearing, it is instantly transcending and serene. The nude hues of the fragrance are only kaleidoscopic once you can connect with them: wear and understand Oud Luban and it turns from the colour of skin to a glowing prismatic arrangement. I imagine owning this would be an almost idealic comfort, as to me at least, it is both extremely joyful and somehow so absolute it becomes almost somber.  Oud Luban is a release, an emotional surge that is almost impossible to understand at first, if ever – but it is both calming, and almost forgiving in its complicated muteness. “Muteness” because as I have already said, the composition is so clear and collected in nature that in time, it becomes what I’m sure Mandy Aftel intended – an intimate, divine part of your skin, that is no longer difficult to understand.


Oud Luban 1/4ounce solid Aftelier Perfumes – $210

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Chypre Rouge – Serge Lutens

Yay! It feels like ages since I’ve written about a Lutens. I love them :)

Ok so before I go into that, I will start uploading more reviews more regularly soon, I really want to crack on with the Aftelier’s, but every time I try them, they’re just blowing my little mind and I go a bit gobbledygook. If I may say so myself, my Cepes & Tuberose review is my favourite fragrant writing so far. But anyway! Yes, so, lots of exciting new passion filled reviews to come… and here’s another.

Chypre Rouge is a fragrance I have always overlooked, to be honest I completely forgot it was part of the Lutens’ line up. Having said that, it was actually the first Lutens’ I ever tried. I remember walking into House of Fraser when I discovered they stocked Serge Lutens, at the time I was just beginning my niche exploration. It was very exciting and completely intimidating. I sniffed a few of the lids and must have pulled a million faces, but being the nerdy bargain hunter I can be, I picked up one bottle that was on clearance – Chypre Rouge. By picked up I mean physically, I didn’t buy it! I wasn’t that outrageous yet hahaha. I sprayed it all over myself and really quickly left. All I thought at the time was – strawberry jelly, I really liked it but was a little confused about what I was missing.

I found Chypre Rouge online in the original spray bottle (as it has now been moved to the Non-Export line of bell jar only fragrances), discounted, and I suddenly craved it again. I read up lots on it and discovered what I was missing and felt a real need to have it in my collection. Having completely forgot about its existence, and having currently been on the hunt for a fruity fragrance with a twist, this was a pretty much obvious buy.

So, at my door today, it arrived :) and I instantly fell in love with it again… for the first time.

My slowly growing Serge Lutens’ collection….

Chypre Rouge slips out the bottle with muted top notes. It isn’t at all bright and nose-invading like so many others in the line, instead it takes on a more restrained approach, but in a traditional Lutens’ style.
Instantly there is a beautiful flurry of immortelle – an unusual flower which takes on both the scent of maple syrup, and curry spices. It can be used both ways and is instantly recognizable. Here, the immortelle falls in between – a perfect balance of traditionally Lutens’ syrupy sweetness, with a delicate spice to it.

Along side the immortelle is a tame, dense pine needle scent, similar to that used in Fille En Aiguilles (which I can’t say I enjoy that much). Here it adds a wonderful almost resinous smell, soft, ever so slightly green and I’ll even say “dusty”.
So the sweet but spicy maple syrup, alongside a resinous pine, intermingles with the fruit notes here. I get a little bit of blackcurrant actually, which is absolutely fantastic, a note which never seems to pop up in perfumery, alongside maybe raspberries? Red berries I think… and it almost has the feel of jelly (relating back to my initial thoughts a long time back). The reason jelly pops into my head is because it has that slightly synthetic, almost rubbery quality to it, that remains delicate and never overpowering. It isn’t a fresh fruit, there is no juice, yet it doesn’t quite take on Serge’s usual stewed/dried fruit style.

As time goes on, the fruit notes do dry out slightly. The pine turns more into an atmosphere, and the spices broaden but quieten. Alongside the spicy floral I think is cumin? It has a lot of warmth to it and I love how cumin mingles with the skin (I miss my beloved Kingdom by McQueen).
Chypre Rouge is sweet, and it doesn’t only come from the syrup. There is an extra dose of honey in here, deep and dark like Miel De Bois’, only with far less heat and intensity (and the urine soaked clothing). It literally honey-coats the base notes which gradually begin to rise from here on.

Deep down in Chypre Rouge is a big tearing of patchouli, and oakmoss of course. Combined, these add that bitter green edge, but with a brilliant soft touch, making the otherwise playful accords of fruit jelly and spices a more mature and wearable fragrance.
Some amber warms up the composition even more and gives it a glistening hue – sparking a bit of light through the forest floor.
Also listed is jasmine, but to be honest, I don’t really pick it up like many other reviewers seem to. Maybe it’ll come to me soon – but for now I just lie back and enjoy the warm, heat that radiates from the sticky, syrupy spicy fruit goodness!

So there you have it. Chypre Rouge. My point is – it’s pretty great. I keep going to say “a highly overlooked fragrance” but, I disregarded it for so long aswell, I just forgot about it. I’m really not understanding the drastically hit and miss reviews over this either, but then again I forget that pretty much every Serge Lutens creation is 50/50 with the reviews.
I will say though: Don’t be put off by the listed curry spices; I personally find them in perfect balance and not at all dominating – and I am not a spicy fragrance fan at all.

So guys – Chypre Rouge. I may be a bit late to the party (again), but definitely not one to overlook. If Arabie is a bit too close for comfort with its cooking goods, then this may just be a smash hit for you.
As for me, I’ll be thoroughly enjoying this throughout summer smelling like a hot pack of fruit gums! Yum :D

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Juxtapositions: Etat Libre D’Orange – Fat Electrician & S-Perfume – S-ex

I have a lot of samples I really want to review, but I actually don’t like, and am worried I won’t have enough to say about them. So, this is my piss poor attempt to group them together :) I actually think I could have got away with this one a bit sneaky without mentioning… but anyway:

My micro-theme of juxtapositions, joins these two fragrances together. Basically, the themes of both of these fragrances shouldn’t really go – but they do… (to some people at least).
I don’t want to go into detail about their personalities just yet or I will have nothing to write about and my plan will have failed before it’s even started. So I’ll just start :)…

I love Etat Libre D’Orange, but I’ve said before with a murmured slur that I actually don’t like that many of their fragrances (considering how big their line is). But I do love the brand, the marketing etc etc. I really don’t want to be one of those people who say “their fragrances don’t match the marketing”, but at times, this is undeniable.

Anyway – Fat Electrician… I love the name let me start with that, and I reallllllyyyyyy wanted to love the fragrance. I want a bottle, I want people to ask what I’m wearing and say “Oh it’s Fat Electrician” :’)
I knew all along this was a vetiver, and my experience with vetiver before my blog was minimal, actually no, it was non-existent. I have since tried some fantastic vetiver’s… but I haven’t bought one yet, none have caught me enough – but I have a much greater understanding of it.
So I read that this is supposed to be a vetiver to capture the hearts of even those who don’t like the note, so even though I probably should have tried this a little earlier on, I thought “It’s never too late” :)

Fat Electrician is quiet, I can literally pour half my sample over my arm and I have to lift my arm up to smell it. But, that’s not really an issue of mine, I have found that with most vetivers.

Ok, so it opens with an instantly recognizable vetiver note, slightly salty, a bit skanky (I find vetiver to have quite a nasty odour if used correctly if that makes sense – I like it grubby!), green and rooty and pleasant in that muted way that makes vetiver so recognizable. However, in perfect balance with it, actually maybe even swaying in the favour of, is vanilla. A creamy, smooth vanilla that isn’t sickly sweet, and instead has the bizarrely repulsive “eggy” quality that I constantly seem to pick up in vanilla’s (mostly in Mona Di Orio’s eggfest Vanille). It’s a very interesting combination and somehow it all kind of works… for about five minutes.

After the five minutes, the metallic edge of the vetiver (and ELdO’s metallic signature), and the sheer blandness of the not-quite-sweet-not-quite-anything vanilla, all distorts into a sharp, yet lactonic tea-leaf sort of smell. It’s interesting but obviously simple. It is the matter of balance that makes Fat Electrician interesting, constantly wondering whether the fragrance will fall on the vanilla side or the vetiver side… to be honest, I don’t care what side it falls on, it’s uncomfortable for me either way.

Oh and if it couldn’t get much worse, there’s a nice blob of myrrh in the base, the breathy kind. The myrrh and vanilla with the metallic edge, create a similar sensation to Jasmin et Cigarette’s unappetizing “bad breath” stench that remains muted, unsettling and a little too close for comfort.

An interesting fragrance, but it doesn’t work for me I’m afraid.

I should love S-ex I really should, it is everything that I should hunt for in a fragrance – a juxtaposing combination, an attempt at an artistic name, and an avant-garde feel, all wrapped up in a bottle that looks like medical equipment and a brand name to match.

I was going to just write this review without explaining the juxtaposition beforehand, but I will. The reason I will is because without my knowledge of this prior to me testing this fragrance, I’d have had no clue that there was much unique about this.
So, S-ex is meant to be an almost animalic leather, overlaid with contrasting notes of aquatic Calone. If that makes sense you’ll understand why it shouldn’t really work…

S-ex opens with a real musky note laid over a true to life plastic accord. It is the type of plastic accord that I desperately craved in Comme Des Garcons’ Skai, only it is toned down here, and is blended with a whole bunch of other notes to make it not so important and exciting.

You know what, I have to take back my words a little bit, I did dismiss this the first few times I tried it, but I’m kind of understanding it now. So, if you’re familiar with “Calone”, it is basically an aroma-chemical that has an aquatic/melon type of vibe, you can smell it in numerous designer fragrances along with some niches who focus on the note, such as Humiecki & Graef’s Skarb (at least I think that’s what it is). Calone is really prominent here, but just like the marketing promises (and I’m really getting for the first time), underneath this is – dare I say – a fecal leathery musk. It is like a perfect poop wrapped in cling film (the plastic accord is still going strong).

I also get some notes not listed – a metallic accord (not that they have any need to list that), and berries? Like, red berries, which give it a futuristic jammy note.
As it wears, this jammy plastic note comes forward, and the melon notes of the Calone die down – as does the fecal musk. It becomes a lot cleaner relatively quickly, and instead it becomes a recognizable, almost cheap smelling aquatic fragrance, plasticky undertones smother some subtle red berries and clean white musk. If you didn’t know what this fragrance was, and sniffed it at this point (half an hour later?) it wouldn’t be something you would have thought an avant-garde niche creation.

To be honest, I was just captivated by the first ten minutes and I thought I’d embarrassed myself and was quickly falling in love with this! But no, the drydown has let me down, but the first half hour is great fun, if you’re in with the joke – if you’re not it’s a pretty unappetizing and nondescript fragrance.
The leather actually keeps popping out which is nice, it is a complete contrast to everything else going on but it does work. S-ex doesn’t ever blend into a seamless fragrance, little shards jut out here and there of leather, musk, plastic, fruit, melon; All together however, it creates a fragrance fuzz not too dissimilar in feel to Comme Des Garcons’ Odeur 72 for example.

Definitely worth a sniff, and a very interesting fragrance if you explore it in-depth (as I have just learnt). But I’d still pick 100% Love over this any day.

And may I say, that post turned out much larger than expected :’) I enjoyed that!

Etat Libre D’Orange Fat Electrician 50ml – £52.50 Les Senteurs
S-Perfume S-ex 50ml EDT – $110 Luckyscent

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Vero Profumo – Kiki EDP, Kiki Parfum

Hello everyone. Sorry for the long break in posting yet again, my regularity will return over the next week and I have lots planned to write about.
I decided to return back to my Vero Profumo sample pack  (thanks again to Campomarzio70) as I feel that if I don’t review them now, I will use up all my samples and have nothing as immediate reference to review them!

After my hugely successful encounter with Onda, in both EDP and Parfum form, I decided it was time to write about Kiki. I have lived with Kiki and Rubj a little longer than I did with Onda – I was too keen to try it there and then! These are still semi-initial reviews, and I’m just gonna get straight on with them :)…

Kiki Eau De Parfum opens at once sparkling, fresh, soapy, clean with a tart aldehydic citrus, Vero’s passion fruit signature much more up front and appealing.  The acidic fruit salad is gorgeously inviting, not in the least bit a “tired citrus opening”, it has the same captivating citrus fruit kick as Tauer’s Orange Star which I am head over heels for.

The citrus allows a little hole to peak through, where the leading lavender comes into play. It starts out with its almost medicated/camphorous type of scent pushing forward, but quickly cools down into a calming breeze. Similarly to Lutens’ Gris Clair, the lavender almost takes on its own density, bringing out this unknown creaminess to the flower, which here is supported by some caramel. The smooth sweetness never becomes sticky and immature, but doesn’t become obnoxious with a burnt, de-sweetened aspect: instead it works with the lavender and citrus to turn down the pungency and up the solid density of the natural scents.

A musky/patchouli base which only becomes apparent a fair while later, gives stability, without pushing aside the citrus and lavender. Instead, the lavender and citrus morph into an almost soapy, yet again, disinfectant like scent, similar to Onda but without the dirtiness underneath. I don’t mean the term “disinfectant” in a bad way, although really it should, instead it smells familiar and somehow comfortable – undoubtably clean and slightly industrial. This trait seems to be a thread throughout the Vero EDP’s and my only guess is that it comes from the passion fruit.

Kiki is bright, delicious but completely inedible, and really playful. It is extremely mature despite the mention of sparkling citrus and caramel – Vero’s magic touch makes this almost industrial, almost avante garde, yet extremely classy. Great fun :)

Kiki Parfum opens with the same citrus burst although I detect a lovely green blast of lime in there. Without the sparkling, soapy aldehydic opening of the EDP, the citrus falls instantly to the depth of the notes, and the lavender quickly merges to the foreground. Yet again, here the brighter, sharp herbal aspects of the lavender are gone, and the creamy, almost moist density comes forth. Similarly again to Gris Clair only here even more so, the almost ashy quality of lavender scatters in the foreground with a much less playful approach.

Unlike Gris Clair with its vanillic, burnt wood base, here there is the caramel from the EDP – thick, syrupy and a little more prominent. It provides a lovely rich sweetness to it again, without being candy coloured and immature – instead a fresh almost fudgey quality provides a thick richness to the lavender, without any forced lactonic creamy notes.

The Kiki Parfum has a tropical vibe, but more in the feel of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Batucada, than Les Nez’s Manoumalia. What I mean is, it has this tropical feel of a crushed lime and sugar accord, and maybe it does, but unlike the almost sad attempt of Batucada, here the lavender, rich caramel and musk, turn this into something much more complete and enjoyable. Kiki Parfum is Gris Clair on holiday with a Caipirinha.

Comparing this now to the EDP, similarly to Onda’s, it is much brighter, with that industrial passionfruit forceful up top, whereas the Parfum retains it’s depth and has much greater substance and identity, yet both remain together through the similar threads presented differently.

All in all, another absolutely wonderful fragrance duo. I love this recognizable Vero signature which I imagine will definitely not be to everyone’s taste. The EDP’s are always utterly captivating and so far – “fresh” in the best possible use of the word, whilst the extraits are a much more obvious portrayal of the named fragrance’s identity, hand in hand they go absolutely perfectly together and neither one is better than the other.

Yet again I feel late to the party, but Vero Profumo is an extremely exciting brand, and right up my alley. Classic and charming, but playful with an unintentional sense of humour. I love these :)

Vero Profumo Kiki EDP 50ml – $165 Luckyscent
Vero Profumo Kiki Parfum 7.5ml – $185 Luckyscent

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The Different Company – Un Parfum Des Sens & Bois, Un Parfum De Charmes & Feuilles, De Bachmakov

More generously gifted fragrances from The Different Company here. Hopefully bringing some success after the disappointment of the last reviewed samples :)

Sens & Bois opens with a sprinkling of pepper, a delicate, watery shard of ginger, and a faint whisp of incense. This is mainly an incense fragrance, the pepper and ginger providing a very slight spice, with an almost aquatic like accord smoothing out the edges, like, a huge dose of Iso E Super or something.

There’s a nondescript “floral” aspect to it, that makes the combination a little more delicate (if it needed to be!), and from the very start, Sens & Bois remains close to the skin.

After a short while, the cedar comes forward which is nice enough – dry, slightly sharp, but not let loose to full power because of this smooth aquatic emptiness that rounds out the entire composition.
From here on it remains relatively linear, quiet, almost nondescript. 

Not quite dry, not quite floral, not quite spicy, not quite… well, not very interesting :)

Charms & Feuilles is an ever so slightly more interesting combination of notes. It opens with some muted cooking spices (the green herbaceous kind rather than the spicy kind), of listed marjoram and sage. A cool peppermint freshens it up more so, and underneath, a nice accord of “wet leaves” without any of the interesting soil solidifies it.

A zesty fruit accord is just about detectable, along with the palest of florals yet again. As with Sens & Bois, the fragrance seems rounded out with a big watery, smoothing chemical, to blend the nondescript notes together.

A bitter-ish tea leaf note comes in created a kind of Earl Grey tea accord with a little less bergamot. This may simply come from some lifeless patchouli, which does grow in strength over time.

The fragrance then drags on in a muted, slightly herbaceous style. Cool peppermint still suprisingly shows its face, an un-pleasant jasmine-tea grows a little stronger and plays in the foreground, and the patchouli just about gives Charms & Feuilles some substance.

I actually wasn’t gifted this one, and it was part of the sample pack I ordered of The Different Company scents I WANTED to like.
I thought I’d cram this on the end of this review simply because it’s clogging up my sample set and I may as well write about it.

De Bachmakov is thankfully, one of the most interesting in the otherwise dire lineup of The Different Company. It’s opens with an almost doughy-bready accord, similar to L’Artisan Parfumeur’s beautiful Bois Farine, only this has a slight citric twang to it of bergamot, making it less edible, and a very green accord underneath.

The fragrance is often said to feel “cold” and I can agree with that. It has a very cool feel to it, and I think that’s due to the shisho leaves which I believe has a mint like scent? There’s some other green leaves in here and a dose of cedar wood giving the base some security, much more so than that of the previous two fragrances just reviewed.

Also there is no aquatic style here, it is much more solid. But it still has that translucency. The bergamot actually feels a little too pungent for the other subdued notes and it comes across as a little obtrusive.
A watery jasmine makes it’s appearance again – and I’ve mentioned before how I prefer my jasmine’s richer and more indolic, rather than this pale, un-appetizing jasmine. It instead seems to create a fragrant floral haze over the fragrance, and I don’t really see the point of jasmine used like this.

Anyway – the bready notes stay persistent which I would only have thought would be iris, but listed is a “chalk accord” so I’m guessing this is it, it does feel chalky, but also pale and doughy, and pretty much the only note bulking up the otherwise airy herbaceous greenery.

All in all, this is without a doubt the best of the bunch, but still, looking at the price – it’s just horrendous for what you are getting. Fair enough if you fall in love with this, but nothing about these compositions to me are exciting or even wearable. I wouldn’t give these a second thought if I sprayed them out of a designer bottle in a drug store.
I’m sure I sound like I have it in for The Different Company – I don’t at all. I really wanted to like their fragrances, and I was impressed with their polite customer service. Unfortunately however, I’m not going to lie on this blog.

To me, this is without a doubt my least favourite fragrance house, the scents just do not work for me and I’m completely underwhelmed by them. I have however gave them fair reviews and I hope no one takes anything I’ve said to heart if I’ve slated one of your beloved TDC fragrances – enjoy it! I’m envious that you can appreciate this style of perfumery better than myself :)

The Different Company –
De Bachmakov 90ml $230
Sens & Bois 90ml $215
Charmes & Feuilles 90ml $215

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What We Do In Paris Is Secret – A Lab On Fire

What We Do In Paris Is Secret or “Paris” as I will call it from now on, is in one word: Yummy! Now, whether that is a good or a bad thing is pretty much up to you. Not everyone likes this almost edible/ slightly immature style of fragrance. But before I get into this, let me tell you how it smells…

Paris opens with a powder puff of almonds, delicately fragrant heliotrope, with a subtle, almost aquatic fruit note that turns out is lychee :) So yes, lychee is the fruit note, so don’t hold onto the word “aquatic” and let your heart sink, I don’t mean it in any way cologne-y/transparent/ocean ozonic blah blah, it is instead a delicate watery fruit (which disappears after a few minutes), over a rich full powder of almond nuttiness.

The fragrance soon settles securely into a linear type structure, of creamy vanilla and benzoin, the slightest hint of creamy woods and up top a powdery, honeyed almond. Following along the line of Rahat Loukhoum, Louve, Luctor et Emergo and even Amour by Kenzo, Paris has a literal Play-Doh feel: dense, with the same heliotrope delicate sweetness with the tiniest hint of salt.

So, I described earlier how Paris is slightly immature, maybe that’s a little unfair. The thing is, it’s almost like a cheap thrill. It’s every lovely, cuddly ingredient wacked into one niche concoction. The Play-Doh note has been done before over and over, and yes, fair-do’s that this may be one of the much better examples, but piled on top of creamy vanilla, musk and delicate floral rose, this becomes an all round predictable fragrance. Whilst when I first sniffed this I thought “Yes, very nice” – that’s literally it, no surprises here, nothing slapping you sideways in the drydown, nothing leaping out and tearing at your nostrils with a joyous shock – Paris is about as safe and predictable as a niche gourmand can get. It would be a perfect blind buy for someone who just likes to smell good but doesn’t care of what in particular.

All in all, a pleasant, “hard not to enjoy”-Play-doh/almond fragrance, feminine and playful. A good example of something there is many of, and you don’t really need.

What We Do In Paris Is Secret 60ml EDP A Lab On Fire – £110 Luckyscent

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Cuir Venenum – Parfumerie Generale

Cuir Venenum opens with the most ridiculous combination of super tart orange blossom, citrus and honey, that it instantly morphs into an almost futuristic, robotic grape soda scent. Yes, the opening is so reminiscent of grape soda it’s like cracking open a fresh can of pop under your nose.

Spiraling upwards from the base is a long stream of smoke. The smoke isn’t from incense, and is instead an almost stale cigarette cloud – the exact accord that should have been in Jasmin et Cigarette but wasn’t. It’s dirty, ashy and true to life. It’s extremely playful and almost “naughty” smelling.

Some coconut and myrrh round the fragrance completely, turning these harsh opposites into a smoother scent – that of a stale “left on from last night” kind of scent. What started as ridiculously fun and potent, does settle down slightly, but the composition never truly sorts itself out.
At the base, along with the stale scent of cigarette smoke, is a potent leather. The leather is often described as creamy and plush, but I think that’s due to all the hyper sweet synthetic notes on top and the dash of coconut. The base to me feels bitter and dirty, with a slighty skanky musk providing a scattering of powder.

The fragrance is far from clean, despite the usual soapy nature of orange blossom and citrus. The top is super sweet and synthetic, with a real syrupy feel to it. The powder is dusty and similarly to Dark Aoud by Montale, feels old and very well worn in. The leather, musk and myrrh add that skanky breathy-ness to the base, and the fragrance feels as full of contrasts as it sounds. I personally would have great trouble wearing it and feeling comfortable, and whilst I initially found it my favourite amongst my recent batch of samples, it has slowly shuffled its way back down a bit. I am fascinated by it, but my mother was completely bowled over and a bottle is soon to be on order for her. She describes it as “the smell after a messy night out”. I agree, it has that trashiness of fragrances like Boudoir and Putain Des Palaces, only I feel even they have a more delicate refinement, Cuir Venenum is much more literal.

If this sounds like your sort of thing, it’s definitely worth a try! Another oustanding, creative and challenging composition by the brilliant Pierre Guillaume, but not something I would enjoy smelling of all day.

Cuir Venenum Parfumerie Generale 50ml EDP – $95 Luckyscent

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