Monthly Archives: October 2012

Petroleum (Edition Rare) – Histoires De Parfums

A huge hit of animalic, smoky leather and medicinal oud that brings to mind Oud Cuir D’Arabie – starts Petroleum. Along with a bizarre inclusion of heavy aldehydes that gives it this huge – futuristic light and lift. It makes the weight of the ingredients far lighter than expected but keeping the dense texture. The glue-y oud is lovely! In the same vein as the Montale’s, but slightly lighter and easier to digest.

Whether it’s an inclusion of rose oxide or not, there’s a delicate, but heavily metallic rose note in the heart – which combined with the leathery oud does bring to mind a kind of petrol-like accord, but still given light from the aldehyde remains. An underlying sweetness of amber becomes present quite quickly, but still – the bitterness of the leather keeps Petroleum dark, modern, and slightly morbid. The leather notes introduce an animalic civet which provides this rich depth and a slight sourness throughout Petroleum – and the contrast between sour/metallic/aldehydic and medicinal, is impressively combined into something that smells smooth, rounded, and appealing.

As Petroleum gains more clarity and re-arranges itself a little bit to become calmer on the skin, an unexpected, ozonic, almost marine type note comes in. The soiled sea water almost turns into driftwood – adding a whole new element to the already confusing mix. The marine/oud vibe is what stays throughout the heart of Petroleum, and it sounds like it completely doesn’t work but it’s so so good. The saltiness from the ozonic accord, continues to add some dirtiness rather than freshen up the fragrance, and it’s obvious that Petroleum was definitely not made to be “pretty”. It is however far more than that, it’s a beautiful perfume that is mysterious and unlike anything else I’ve tried.

The fragrance gets lighter and lighter and as the base comes in a little more, the oud becomes light and almost translucent, the leather more of a thin, vinyl-like sheen with the animalic civet lightening slightly into a soiled white musk. The marine notes calm down also, but never fully let-go of the bilgey, iodine-like association. The rose practically vanishes from sight, leaving behind the only remains of anything remotely “perfumey” in here. But as I said earlier, everything is smooth, clear, and surprisingly easy to wear. The wonderful petrol note is just a splattering of oil on the skin now – and whilst the textures aren’t challenging, the unsettling aroma is still hard on the nose (and stomach).

All in all, I love this, and it will definitely go on my “must buy” list (I was close to blind-buying this a few months back and I should’ve gone for it!). Without a doubt, the best in the Histoires De Parfums line. Recommended.

Edition Rare Petroleum 60ml EDP Histoires De Parfums – 125 Euros

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Tango – Aftelier Perfumes

Tango opens with a spiced orange. Deep and intense, not quite juicy – but more like dried peel, spiked with clove, pepper and warm ginger – and all wrapped up in a veil of dense smoke. The base notes rise up quickly: a glowing, golden brown blend of tobacco, vanilla and sweet coffee – lacquered with a balsamic, resinous honey-like glaze. It’s overwhelming and complicated, but silky smooth and indulgent.

The floral heart of champaca plays a leading role – a note that is glorious to smell in full force, rather than diluted to something almost tea-like and “pretty”. It’s herbal but rounded, sweet and spicy with specks of rose, orange blossom and an almost osmanthus-like fruitiness. The coffee, that smells almost lactonic due to the vanillic tonka underneath, entwines with the floral notes and the mystery smoke to take it away from gourmand territory but still makes my mouth water.

The smoke isn’t birch tar, and only a little of it seems to come from the tobacco – instead, the perfumer lists “choya” – the natural aroma of toasted seashells. Whether this plays on my imagination (as I can only dream of what this raw material smells like!) – the salted marine note of it really seems to push forward, in an almost ambergris-like holographic way. The smoke is smooth and abstract, it doesn’t smell of burnt wood, coal or tar – but blended with the other ingredients it comes across as a delicately smoked cream – the coffee pushing this vision further. The outcome is a blend of sweet, floral smoke, a dash of spice and a vanillic almost lactonic woody note that combine to make something that flickers between the scent of an imaginary, exquisite latte, and the sexy scent of someone’s skin which has lapped up the salty sea and sun. It’s contrast between the gourmand notes and the almost human warmth of the smoke, sweet milk and what I think is patchouli and civet in the base, bring to mind the more simplistic Musc Maori that feels similar to me (in the sense that it combines gourmand notes with animalic musk to turn it into something sexy and not-quite edible). It’s this teasing which makes the scent so appealing and keeps my nose glued to my skin.

The drydown is a sweet (I keep using this word – Tango is not particularly sweet but the bitterness of notes such as tobacco, smoke, coffee etc. keep it completely counterbalanced), honeyed, smoky tobacco, a slightly salty muskiness, vanilla and woods – with the delicate cream of the floral coffee clinging to the base for many hours. Tango gets more delicious each time I wear it and I think my sample will be completely drained as soon as Winter draws nearer and nearer – I may need a bottle of it to get me through the cold months. It is a fragrance that can be warming and homely, or mysterious and sexy – polar opposites I know but you’ll just have to try it to understand! Beautiful as always.

Tango 30ml EDP Aftelier – $170

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Eau D’Italie – Eau D’Italie

Eau D’Italie is a cologne – Duchaufour style. It smells simplistic initially, yet so exceptionally blended it is hard to break down. Some citrus up top of lemon and bergamot feels instantly soft and almost powdery on the skin. A signature Duchaufour incense – in the style of Dzongkha, creeps in and mingles with citrus along with a herbaceous greenery that may be a mere hint of cypress.

Listed is blackcurrant (a note I love), but it seems to come off as a mere fruity hint rather than anything tart and distinctive. It adds a delicate sweet/sour edge to the citrus and that is all. The incense gets a little stronger, and is clean, clear and crisp – a very, very minimalistic smoke.
The citrus is dragged into the heart by a creamy, lemony magnolia – yet again, hidden behind an almost translucent layer that successfully disguises and merges these notes together.

The notes list discusses a “clay accord”, which I completely get after reading it – without that, it is simple a damp, slightly mineralic earthy smell that is difficult to place – but lovely when it is. This clay accord, overlaid with the remains of the citrus which begins to turn a little orange-y and the smoke of incense, blurs together into something really fresh and meditative.

A dry cedar wood and a dash of bitter green oakmoss create a smooth, mossy base, slightly warmed by something amber-y, and a small bundle of clean patchouli. This warm, fuzzy base full of rich earth and greenery, calms down a growing metallic presence from what I assume is the incense. This metallic almost bilgey kind of note retains the cool quality of the opening, whilst never full turning into a full-blown salty driftwood note which it starts to verge on. The balance is perfect, and it is one of the few signature colognes (amongst Annick Goutal’s, Santa Maria Novella’s and the like…) that I am fond of and would happily splash on in the summer. Sure, this is the wrong time to be writing about such a summery fragrance, but it is definitely something that will be on my wish list early next year.

The florals last longer than expected, and the citrus feel never full disappears. The dry cedar and cool incense along with the metallic/mineralic mystery accord of the heart, are truly lovely and I smile each time I raise my hand to my nose. A perfect example of a unisex cologne – with just a little bit of weirdness, and an exquisite texture. A beauty :)

Eau D’Italie 100ml EDT Eau D’Italie – £87 Les Senteurs

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Classic Mimosa – Von Eusersdorff

Classic Mimosa has a rounded, de-sharpened note of leaf alcohol up top – an aromachemical that in concetration smells like a lawnmower (motor oil and cut grass). It’s a chemical I love and rarely smell in a fragrance. The slightly petrol like hit is still there but subtly, the fresh-mown grass accord soft on the skin, fresh and dewy.

The florals come in quickly – a hint of powdery violets and neroli. A slight citrus adds a cologne-like freshness whilst the florals make sure it doesn’t go too masculine. The mimosa comes in shortly after – a little bit of powder and a delicate almond scent similar to heliotrope scatters over the top of Classic Mimosa – it’s not as sweet as I expected, the almond slightly bitter with a papery texture. A subtle, salty marine note adds some clarity, retaining the freshness of the opening – the combination of salt and powdery florals bringing to mind Dans Tes Bras by Frederic Malle, only with more warmth and a greater floral heart.

There’s a subtle rose in the mix, but for once it doesn’t stand out on my skin as the leading note as it so often does in floral arrangements. The rose that is there is tinged with a cool green, turning more into a geranium aroma (a note I’ve really began to love!). The powdery mimosa (which gradually loses it’s almond notes) and the violet infused driftwood lead a light, sweet, powdery but fresh heart and it’s really lovely. Orange blossom underneath acts almost as a resin, providing some depth to the airy florals

The base turns musky but clean, with a smidge of vanilla sweetening the florals and driftwood – making sure it never turns murky or soiled. The fragrance just manages to stay damp and fresh on the skin – the flowers smelling dewy rather than overtly powdery – but the powder does become more prominant later in the development. There seems to be a tiny hint of vetiver in the base that I wish was a little more potent (to continue the salty, earthy feel of the marine notes).
But all in all, Classic Mimosa is a really enjoyable fragrance. It seems to be the wrong season to have my little bottle but I’ll definitely be cracking it out in the spring, and maybe every now and again in the winter to put a smile on my face! A light and beautifully fresh, sea floral without an overload of calone, sparse translucency or dense, synthetic, aquatic disguises. Recommended!

Classic Mimosa 100ml EDP Von Eusersdorff – 115 Euros

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La Via Del Profumo – Mecca Balsam, Tartar Leather

Mecca Balsam has one hell of a rich, complicated opening. A blast of rich spicy frankincense and oud, paired with a smoky pipe tobacco brings to mind a mix of Aftelier’s Sepia and dried fruits – with more incense. A subtle bitter bundle of herbal notes up top spike the fragrance with a little greenery, and a smidge of clove, before the frankincense tumbles more into resinous labdanum.

The sticky black quality of the labdanum lacquers the skin, whilst sweet benzoin softens all the rough edges. Mecca Balsam becomes softer as time goes on, sweetening slightly as the tobacco becomes for flavoursome than smoky. The natural oud underneath is beautiful, yet again bringing to mind the Aftelier ouds I adore – namely now Oud Luban with its frankincense/oud mixture, rather than La Via Del Profumo’s signature oud soliflore Oud Caravan which is far harsher on the nose.

A resinous base finishes Mecca Balsam, sweet and ambery, a dash of smooth oud, frankincense and a smidge of woody vanilla. A tiny hint of clean rose joins in a while later, but its soft floral touch is extremely subtle underneath the resins and seems to act as a delicate layer of clarity so that Mecca Balsam’s base isn’t too heavy. All in all, it’s a beautiful fragrance that I would love a bottle of.

Tartar Leather has a rich, spice laden opening paired with a bitter citrus. A sticky bergamot and orange with a medicinal herbal undertone that brings to mind eucalyptus and something warm like nutmeg, falls shortly into an abstract, smooth suede. The top notes create an almost tar like astringency, only soft on the skin. The leather isn’t a literal leather, it is more a mirage of one – some animalics underneath (mainly a soft, ganache-like civet) provide a rich musky texture which paired with the opening astringency give off a faux-suede.

The heart brings rich florals of rose and jasmine, and a hint of oud underneath turns Tartar Leather into a woody/floral more so than a leather. The suede effect seems to dart in and out of focus, drifting further into the background as a wood and vetiver base dominate. The oud is yet again, super soft on the skin, not at all a challenging note and used beautifully to round out the florals along with the merest hint of civet and castoreum. The castoreum comes across like labdanum with a slightly sticky texture on the skin, and I think there’s a hint of incense to go along with it due to a growing presence of smoke.

Tartar Leather is sweeter than Mecca Balsam which must mean there’s a bit of benzoin in here also, unless the florals are giving this a softer, sweeter scent. But in comparison, the labdanum/incense/rose/smoke is similar in both (hence why I paired these together). Tartar Leather is a lovely fragrance, but I’d hardly call it a leather. Instead it is a soft, smoky floral with a rich, woody drydown. Both beautifully blended and full of life.

Tartar Leather 32ml La Via Del Profumo – 71.40 Euros
Mecca Balsam 32ml La Via Del Profumo – 79.34 Euros both available from

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Bandit EDP – Robert Piguet


Bandit opens with a quick hit of bergamot and an overload of soapy aldehydes – the aggressive, flourescent kind that feels like someone is brutally forcing a bar of Dove into your nostril. It’s hyper clean at first, the scent of pure sudsy soap, undercut with a bitter greenery of galbanum and a translucent citrus that brings to mind industrial cleaning fluid. It’s grim in a good way.

The great thing about Bandit (already) is the development – it is long, and slow, allowing you to experience each individual stage with complete ease and leisure. What rises under the green aldehyde bomb is leather – isobutyl quinoline I think. It’s a leather formula that smells like a little mix of earthy castoreum and labdanum with a bitter green edge (the word bitter is going to pop up a lot here). The greenery brings to mind crushed leaves and earth – a slightly damp, swampy quality that is semi-dried out by the robust leather.

As it settles further, Bandit goes into its next phase – the green, the flower and the animal. A hint of civet comes forward which seems to awaken some florals – for me, it’s mainly carnation. The carnation is subtle, but warm and spicy with a decent clovey hit that darts in and out of the foreground. Ylang-ylang, devoid of any banana-ry, tropical qualities gives the heart of Bandit a little lift whilst the soapy opening begins to get tamer. The oakmoss that entwines throughout the fragrance gets more and more prominent, it smells pitch black and inky, with a liquid like texture that with the florals and leather, smells a little bit like pot. It has that green but juicy quality with a slight sourness to it that kind of makes your mouth water but it’s not at all edible.

There’s a slight, clean, white floral something going on in the heart that I can’t quite put my finger on. I don’t want to put it across as a bad thing – but it smells like Illuminum’s piss poor attempt at a gardenia (White Gardenia Petals), is hiding in here a little bit. That same, soapy, synthetic gardenia joke – only here it is blended, not isolated, and actually works pretty well! The carnation dies down allowing this cheap white floral to come forward, along with a cleaner tea rose which helps to balance it out.

Underneath, (the tyre leather still going strong) a slightly soiled vetiver that turns a little vegetal, paired with the oakmoss provide an expected bitter green base. There’s a trail of smoke which seems to get a little stronger, and I’m not sure whether it is the labdanum-like leather, or a hint of incense. Mainly though, Bandit is green… GREEEEN. It’s execution comes across as a mix of a classic Chanel, and an 80’s masculine powerhouse like Aramis… yes, completely not style – but Bandit’s vintage aura is undoubtably charming and I feel pretty darn dapper when I wear it, almost certain that people around me assume I’m slathered in some cheap drugstore cologne, but there we go.
Bandit is lovely – a captivating bitter green chypre that smells old, crude, and classy.

Bandit 50ml EDP Robert Piguet – £75

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Bull’s Blood – Imaginary Authors

Bull’s Blood yet again opens with that briney blast of black olive – a bitter herbal accord that brings to mind numerous fragrances by O’Driu – only here it is at a much more approachable intensity. I love it! Considering this same note was in Violet Disguise, I’m guessing there’s some plum in this one too. Quickly uprises a heated cinnamon, violently bitter and dusty – with something animalic lurking underneath it. The olives burn off and the cinnamon is left mingled with a sharp, slightly metallic patchouli and the bunch of dirty musks underneath.

Bull’s Blood, even from the opening, manages to stay relatively light on the skin, despite the intensity of all these pungent ingredients, something which I’m really grateful for – it’s construction and presentation is polite but it’s personality is bitter and twisted.
A faint rose in the background contrasts with the spice, earth and musk as it’s clean and calm, almost like a tea rose – completely buried neck-deep in a thick grease of soiling ingredients. The clarity of the note becomes clearer as you begin to recognize it and makes Bull’s Blood far more approachable each time your pull your nose in.

A smooth, sweet note that has the “breathy” quality that turns me off in so many fragrances adds a density underneath, that means it’s either vanilla, amber, myrrh or costus. My guess is all minus the myrrh, although I do get a sharp incense note in this –  intermingled with the patchouli to create the metallic knife-edge through this. The rose, mystery plum, incense and patchouli brings to mind Voleur De Roses by L’Artisan Parfumeur – however the cinnamon, musk and resinous base give it a new direction (and a more solid one). The cinnamon from the opening looses a lot of weight until it is a more transparent, but still potent, heated spice laying a deep red sheen over Bull’s Blood.

As the fragrance dries down, the smokiness becomes more fragrant – tobacco. The animalic presence is lighter but still unclean due to the costus more than anything, and the patchouli/rose combo is sharp and balanced – the drydown seems amber dominated with a hint of smoke and some fecal musk. The contrast of red hues, metallic notes, the sweet but dirty resins and musk fit perfectly with the name of the fragrance, and I can’t help but think of blood and meat when I smell this – but obviously far more fragrant than literally!!

Bull’s Blood is not my favourite in the line, but my guess is it will be the most successful, it is the Oud27 of the Imaginary Authors house. A really great fragrance – filthy but light, a contrast of textures, spice, florals, musk and earth (and a tiny bit of oud in the base?). The perfumer’s signature is strong in the drydown – but is something I can’t put my finger on, it’s just… smooth. Keep your eyes and nose out for this one!

Bull’s Blood 60ml EDP Imaginary Authors – $89

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JAR – Golconda & Diamond Water

Golconda opens with a rich, heavily spiced (clove-laden) carnation, paired with a hint of banana-ry ylang ylang, and indolic jasmine. The carnation dominates obviously, warm, peppered, with a hit-the-back-of-your-throat spicy dust. I get an ever so slightly candied citrus, like a lemon drop, brightening up the top, and the texture reminds me of the carnation in Guerlain’s Terracotta Voile D’Ete, only de-sweetened slightly by the lack of vanilla and amplified in it’s clove accords.

There really is little more to say about Golconda – it is definitely a lovely carnation fragrance (a note I am surprisingly, slowly growing fond of) – and if you get on with the flower, then Golconda is one of the easiest fragrances to like in the JAR lineup, along with Diamond Water…
A linear, rich, sweet/spicy carnation with great clarity in its heart and a warm dry wood in the base. Lovely and simple.

A carnation yet again, but with a little more to it. Diamond Water opens with a subtle coconut note, and maybe even a hit of lime – it’s rich and tropical but with a sour translucency that keeps it in the distance and definitely not what stands out most. A creamy white floral of tuberose joins in, bringing with it the carnation. The carnation has a much cooler temperature, and much less clove. It is a soft, subtly peppered floral and the tuberose (which has been blended with a very light hand) smooths out the rough edges.

Diamond water is exceptionally quiet on my skin, and as the lime and coconut begin to retreat (but amazingly don’t seem to disappear for numerous hours), the carnation becomes more dominant, but quieter, and prettier than Golconda. The base is extremely subtle, a tiny bit of smoke (incense?) and a smooth wood (sandalwood?) are scrubbed up to a point where they hardly exist.
The tropical treatment of the floral is really unusual. I adore the smell of the coconut and sour lime paired with the spicy carnation, but it is so soft and rounded that it comes across as a little TOO easy to like. Diamond Water is a very nice perfume, but it’s not amazing. It JUST gets away with being classified as unusual.

JAR Golconda 30ml $$$$
JAR Diamond Water 30ml $$$$

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Violet Disguise – Imaginary Authors

Violet Disguise opens with a sweet, fruity twist on a black olive accord. Yep, salty, briney, black olives, dripping in oil. Mouthwatering-ly savoury but spiked with rich orange, plum and apricot. A subtle spice of medicinal clove paired with the slightly clinical citrus, makes the opening almost a little festive – like a spiced orange just starting to turn – devoid of fresh juice and instead dry and brittle.

It settles quickly though, it’s weight lifting off and the association with olives vanishing completely (although this effect lasts ages on paper) – and up comes a rich balmy, resinous scent that seems to carry with it a hint of myrrh and vanilla. As the fruits begin to soften, I seem to get a little bit of breezy lavender, and a lily of the valley – a hint of greenery keeping them fresh.

The myrrh-y amber gives off that breathy vibe that I normally can’t stand, but I’m growing to love as its curdled texture gives me that kind of grossed out but can’t stop sniffing effect! This breathy, resin is relatively translucent considering the weight of it, and the sweetened fruits merge into a singular accord that is hardly recognizable, but sweet and honeyed.

The one thing that throws me off is the violet – I can barely smell it… So I won’t talk about it :) The fruit from the opening leaves a mere stain on the skin, the resins (mainly amber) – a warm breath of bitter-sweet air above a subtle earthiness of maybe patchouli and quiet woods. The amber isn’t plush, but instead a crumbly texture – and whilst the drydown is extremely subtle on my skin, it’s quite unlike anything else, it manages to be unusual, without there being much particularly unusual about it.

The drydown, with the remains of the opening just gripping onto the balsams, gives off an almost play-doh like vibe – slightly doughy and salty with a mystery sweetness behind it. It comes across as chemical in both it’s translucency and overtly smooth texture, but a bizarre amber with a berry-sweetness and a drop of honey. It’s proving very difficult to describe (it has left me a bit stumped!) so my assumption is that the drydown is an exploration into building around an aromachemical that I’m not at all familiar with. Simplistic in the end but very interesting, and what a cracking opening!

Violet Disguise 60ml EDP Imaginary Authors – $89

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