Monthly Archives: November 2012

Buenos Aires – La Bella Figura

Buenos Aires has a gorgeous, bitter herbal opening. Rich, sparkling bergamot and a cool, almost medicinal vibe that I pick up as lavender and orange rind – sit above a heart of green-tinged, powdery Turkish rose. The clean rose is slightly soapy, a gleaming pink colour and fresh like pushing your nose right into the middle of the flower. The cool aspect turns warmer, as a subtle tobacco note and a resinous orange blossom (I don’t know why I always refer to orange blossom as resinous but my nose so often interprets it that way) undercut the citrus in a rich, warm support.

A truly gorgeous rosewood comes in with full force after a few minutes – and this note is one I am growing to love more and more as I smell it. It occasionally presents the dryness of cedar, and almost has a “nuttiness” to it, smoothed out with floral notes and a damp, dewy, fresh-cut-timber scent. An unusual green-tea aroma adds a herbal bitterness that is listed as “mate” – I’ve never smelt this note alone, but it brings to mind the use of green tea in the similarly translucent and transcending Lumiere by Aftelier. It adds a greenery to the fragrance without smelling of leaves or earth – it has the texture of smoke, you can almost taste it. The “smoke” is enhanced by a tobacco note – although the tobacco adds little more than a touch of dust and smoke – giving the fragrance a quiet suede-like texture underneath. It’s not at all like pipe tobacco, there’s no fruit or honeyed notes – it is a completely clear trail throughout Buenos Aires that acts more like an incense – very interesting!

The rose dominates, but the orange blossom bulks up the floral accords with a slightly narcotic bitterness – the herbal notes from the opening reinforced by violet leaf and what smells like a touch of patchouli. The woodiness continues well into the base, made sweeter as it dries down. But all in all, Buenos Aires remains a little linear once it gets into the heart – a subtle but beautiful, fresh floral duo, some mystery bitter herbal notes, and a glorious woody/earthy base – it sounds traditional but it’s balanced exceptionally with a combination of notes that makes it smell both modern and comfortable. Another fragrance in the La Bella Figura house that smells uncomplicated, clear in its aim, and gorgeously meditative to wear – a very personal fragrance.

Buenos Aires .25oz oil La Bella Figura – $90

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Indigo – Magnetic Scent

Indigo starts with a hit of rose that wouldn’t seem out-of-place paired next to an upcoming oud – but it doesn’t happen… instead a bitter herbal, resinous aroma that I honestly struggle to place comes in. I get a hit of tart green pine, an overtly sour citrus that doesn’t seem too far from yuzu, and a gingery…earthy…vegetal scent that I’m guessing is the angelica? It’s a truly fabulous combination of complicated notes that I’ve rarely sniffed.

What comes next scares me a little – and I initially jotted it down as “costus and castoreum” – that sweaty smell of hair and dirty skin as used in Oud 27. After a quick chat with the perfumer – he told me it is merely the hyacinth note. Now, I have hyacinth’s at home but have never given them a true sniff, but this extracted note – is a hell of a thing. It’s a dirty, soiled, vegetal note – an intense, piercingly sharp floral that is hard to pin down, but desperately uncomfortable. Is it swampy? Is it narcotic? Hell knows, it’s extremely dark and mysterious – it’s like sniffing a clean floral through a pungent fog. I love this smell. The rose from the opening is cleaner, a tea rose I think, and paired with this hyacinth just about rounds it out into something wearable, challenging and beautiful.

The contrast of textures in the heart is awesome. There’s still a sour accord going on, a gummy texture from the mastic, the soiled animalic hyacinth, clean tea rose, the remains of bitter herbs that brings to mind dill and an almost carrot-y angelica. Cedar wood is the first note that begins to break through the heart from the base – bone dry and almost charred, bringing with it a subtle incense smoke and a vegetal musk. A mineralic, flinty aroma darts in and out of focus, adding potent metallic elements throughout Indigo. The great thing about Indigo is that it is not at all sweet, in fact, it’s completely bitter. The bizarre juiciness adds a mouthwatering quality but the unapologetic bitter notes completely contrast to it, slapping you across the face when you try to hunt for something more conventional in there! It’s a brutal rose fragrance – and that is what I’d classify it as, because whilst there is so much more going on – and often leading – the rose ties all these notes together and is the only thread keeping Indigo together. It isn’t a seamless fragrance, but that’s why it is so good!

As it finally begins to drydown, the cedar/incense combo leads, with a hint of heavily resinous amber underneath. There’s still metallic elements, the occasional flash of sour fruit, the tea rose (the only thing remotely perfume-y in Indigo), and a mysterious animalic undercurrent. It smells just as complicated as it is to describe and it’s a relief when the drydown comes so you can finally get your ahead around it. Indigo is great fun to sniff, a challenging fragrance without a doubt, and one of the most creative compositions I’ve smelt in a good while – well done Magnetic Scent – brilliant work! :)

Indigo 50ml Magnetic Scent – 110 Euros

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Cuir D’Iris – Parfumerie Generale

Cuir D’Iris has a brilliant leather opening. It smells like the leather used in Oud Cuir D’Arabie – that photorealistic, rough leather with that barnyard, medicinal, almost oud-y edge to it. The iris merely is a texture to begin with – a powder that adds a dusty, “old-book” style accord to the leather, turning it paper-y. Once the scent of dusty libraries and worn, handled leather becomes more prominent and familiar, it sticks with Cuir D’Iris to the end, and smells like what In The Library should have been.

The iris’ rooty and earthy feel gets more obvious as time goes on and the leather begins to settle a touch, the scattering of talc cleaning up the rough opening but still smelling like it is trying to disguise the soiling underneath. Cuir D’Iris gets warmer as an amber/vetiver combo joins in – the vetiver intensifies the orris root and the amber smooths out the leather so that the balance becomes a little more steady between the two leading notes.

The relatively linear development only gets sweeter and creamier as time goes on – the amber turns more vanilla-heavy, reminding me of the vanilla/leather of Cuir Ottoman, only this leather stays true to the tanned-hide stench where the Parfum D’Empire rounds out into a suede. The talc powder note gets stronger and stronger as the iris takes over (and is later joined but a subtle smoke of slightly metallic incense); the fragrance seems to be an ongoing battle between which note can be stronger – but it’s seamless and not at all uncomfortable.

The sweet powder under the still animalic leather lasts on the skin in a lightly fragrant layer that remains full of interest until the end – and whilst I prefer Cuir Ottoman’s more opulent leather/incense/iris/amber/vanilla combo, and also Parfumerie Generale’s other standout leather Cuir Venenum, Cuir D’Iris still has a solid place amongst leather fragrances and is another fragrance from the PG house that I could happily wear.

Cuir D’Iris 50ml EDP Parfumerie Generale – £81.50 Les Senteurs

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Update From Freddie :)

Hi guys – adding a bit of personal info here as I don’t want this blog to be too blunt and straightforward – and also my posts have began to a lack a little bit and there’s a few reasons for that (but i’ll be back up and raving soon!).

I had a major loss in my family recently after the death of a very close Auntie – and with the funeral coming up in a couple of days etc, my mind has been pretty elsewhere, I’ll be able to sort my head out properly soon so bear with me.

Also my work is insane – a good insane! Things have been going very well and my tattoo apprenticeship is taking off fantastic. As some of you know, I have been piercing for just over 3 years now, and have in the last few months been given the opportunity to apprentice as a tattooist – tattoos being another major hobby of mine, my own collection is practically matching my fragrance collection! – and it’s similar in style really, as getting a plain tattoo is like buying a designer fragrance, or you can go to a top rated artist and get an absolute collector’s piece of their work on your body – like buying the best niche fragrance you’ve wanted for ages!

So anyway, thought I’d brighten this post up a bit with some of the first tattoos I’ve done on customers :D Gone are the days when my only practice was my legs and brave friends :P I’m getting a lot of interest online and my homework of drawing up artwork has cut into blogging time majorly, but once I get my time management back in control I’ll be sure to be updating regularly here :)
(All artwork is my own – some tattoos still in progress!)

 (Flowerpot lady)

 (Full body peacock – whole outline finished!)

 (Watercolour/smudge style work that I’m playing with – the writing above is not mine)

 (Another watercolour style piece I’m working on – half finished)

 (Futuristic, cartoon city, outline finished)

 (Bows and stocking lines)

And an top of all the tattooing – I’m still piercing full time too – which has become manic recently with a new type of jewellery we’re stocking. Here’s a video of me doing a daith piercing with these heart shaped rings :D I had one done myself the other day – ouch! Haha

Sorry I know this post is very off topic but just letting you regulars know I’m not slacking ;) And justa bit of insight into what I do outside of my baby SMELLYTHOUGHTS. Been sniffing some exciting things recently and have been really enjoying a new sample pack I got from a new brand: Magnetic Scent, their work is very promising :D Writing to come soon!


Barcelona – La Bella Figura

La Bella Figura is a new natural fragrance brand that so far have made a collection of three perfume oils. After I have written about them all, I’ll be hosting a giveaway of a sample set so keep those eyes and noses peeled!

Barcelona opens with a prickly pink pepper and a lemon/orange juice-laden combo. Citric and spicy with that mouthwatering appeal that Azemour Les Oranges also has in it’s great opening. The citrus has a resinous quality to it, and I’m guessing there may be a hint of orange blossom underneath – creating a floral/resin density under the fruit. The lemon is sweet and rich – not at all reminiscent of disinfectant – it’s undercut with a hint of bitter greenery and smells like the entire fruit, rind and all.

The subtle floral aromas in the background seem to be a combination of the natural citrus’ themselves (wild orange is listed which can often have a slight floral aroma), but also the suspected orange blossom and maybe even a hint of osmanthus and jasmine? The rich resinous quality underneath, along with the scent of fresh green leaves keeps the citrus’ grounded and full of life. This combination of citrus and light florals lasts far longer than expected, the sun-bathed opening continuing all through the heart – bright, summery and with a gorgeous light texture on the skin.

Barcelona’s resinous notes smooth out a little more as a beeswax comes in, and turns the texture, well…waxy. The waxy citrus fruits and florals stay true to their freshness – and a smidge of bitter greenery (oakmoss?) and smooth woods sit in the base. Although the development is relatively linear, I enjoy Barcelona start to finish and is one of the most lovely citrus fragrances I’ve tried in a long time. It’s simplistic, clean, benefitting greatly from its oil presentation – and just really good to wear. It’s nothing complicated or challenging – but not everything needs to be, and this is a lovely example of how simplicity can be executed with charm :)

Barcelona .25oz Oil La Bella Figura – $90

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Imaginary Authors Giveaway: THE WINNERS!

Thanks to everyone who entered, I hope those who entered but didn’t win still hunt out this fascinating line!


Congratulations to:



Barry (Prince Barry)

Please contact me via the Contact Me page with your addresses!
Be sure to report back with your thoughts, I can’t wait to hear what you guys think of them.

Thanks for the support guys!


Classic Patchouli – Von Eusersdorff

Classic Patchouli opens with as expected, a huge blast of warm, earthy patchouli – completely headshop and stuffy (but I love that) – but a beautiful patchouli it is. There’s no sourness, the edges aren’t overly smoothed out so it still has a good rough, dark side, the scent of earth comes only from the complicated note itself instead of any added green notes. It has a bitter, herbal kick to it that reminds me of chinese medicine shops – but yet again, it seems nothing’s added – just a perfect patchouli soliflore opening.

As time goes on, Classic Patchouli gets sweeter, with a vanilla/benzoin combination coming in – now, the vanilla isn’t the kind I like – it starts to turn breathy and a bit clammy on my skin, but for some reason, it never creeps over the edge of being uncomfortable and I kind of perversely like it! I describe it as “eggy” vanilla :’) after sniffing Mona Di Orio’s Vanille which was a train wreck on my skin – but I couldn’t quite call it that here. Instead it gives Classic Patchouli a bizarre lactonic effect as though it has a “warm milk accord” sitting underneath the patchouli – it’s an unusual combination when I really think about it, and it reminds me of the contrast between vanilla and vetiver in Fat Electritian that juts about works… it’s the same kind of thing here.

So, this sweet milky patchouli gets lighter as the drydown begins, reminding me almost of patchouli scented whipped cream if you can picture that – but still with that herbal, earthy edge that just curdles it and makes it a little uncomfortable (totally my thing). A soft sandalwood (maybe some cedar too) sits in the base and I’m guessing a touch of amber (which begins to give Classic Patchouli a hint of powder), but the patchouli is undoubtably the lead.

There’s little more than can be said about such a direct, patchouli fragrance – but this is a really really good one. In the same vein as Borneo 1834 – I find this really comfortable and easy to wear, mainly just because I love patchouli. The execution of Classic Patchouli is beautifully done, the ingredients smell fantastic, and I love the subtle contrast in textures – one of the best patchouli soliflores I’ve smelt :)

Classic Patchouli 100ml EDP Von Eusersdorff – 115 Euros

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The Afternoon Of A Faun – Etat Libre D’Orange

The Afternoon Of A Faun opens with one of the best turkish delight (loukoum) accords I’ve smelt. A rich turkish rose, powdery iris and a hit of bergamot. In all these loukoum fragrances they add a huge dose of almonds and/or cherries – neither of which I associate with the sweet (that’s more nougat to me)… rose, powder and citrus… perfect!

There’s a spiciness in the opening too, a slightly spicy and fruity black and pink pepper along with a subtle immortelle underneath. This spice works perfectly with the loukhum accord but due to the higher presence of florals rather than foody ingredients (and not much sweetness) – it stays away from being gourmand and is instead: mouthwateringly fragrant.

A frankincense and myrrh begin to join in, slightly bitter, resinous smoky – all that lovely stuff, that just makes that turkish rose better and better. The iris keeps providing a lovely and lighthanded dose of powder throughout – completely rounding out any sharp edges and making The Afternoon Of A Faun both light, and super smooth on my skin. The immortelle never takes over, but is detectable throughout – dry rather than syrupy, with the spice subtle – similar to it’s use in Like This but just a little more potent. The “fuzzy” texture most closely resembles Archives 69 in the Etat Libre D’Orange lineup, and I find a fair few similarities between the fragrances – but this is undoubtably easier to wear (and nicer!). They both have a subtle metallic incense, a “pink berry” aroma that here seems to be a sideline of the rose, and a peppery spice. There’s a lot of textures going on and a list of florals that whilst is pretty straightforward to read (rose, jasmine, iris) it is somehow presented quite abstract.

The turkish delight accord breaks down a little becoming less familiar and less gourmand but the rose note staying true to the opening. However, as the bitter resins gain in strength, that familiar metallic note of the house signature, and a subtle leather note intermingle with the more delicate powder of spicy florals, the whole thing gets a little more “perfumey” and less edible. The drydown is light but rich, an unusual combination of spice, bitterness, resins and iris powder – the memory of pale pink florals and fruit just about in view.

The Afternoon Of A Faun seems to get a lot of stick, I’ve read hardly anything about it and none of it has been positive – well, I really enjoy it. Thankfully a very generous reader sent me a 10ml miniature of this so I’m very grateful… so thank you! (you know who you are) :)
Definitely a great release from the line, in beautiful packaging, and a name that I absolutely love. I’m growing to really really like this one and consider it a must sniff for any ELdO fan. Recommended :)

The Afternoon Of A Faun 100ml EDP Etat Libre D’Orange – 119 Euros

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Wild Roses – Aftelier Perfumes

The new fragrance from Mandy Aftel…

Wild Roses opens with a hugely complicated blast of… well, rose – a clean tea rose, a spiced jammy rose, a hit of cracked pepper – a touch of syrupy anise, a cold eucalyptus and a heavy, bitter-sweet, fruity apricot that verges on peach. It is so overwhelming and rich it almost smells boozy up top – but not with the dense, alcoholic and almost sticky quality that boozy accords tend to have.

The anise vanishes pretty quickly (but leaves a subtle fennel accord behind), the cool mentholated aspects begin to settle, but the fuzzy apricot dominates, paired with a rose unlike anything else I’ve tried – such a huge blend of textures, spices and colours that rounds out into one purely translucent floral. A herb basket rises up underneath the roses adding a bitter, culinary edge of coriander (along with the fennel) – with an extremely restrained powdery/almond quality that I assume is heliotrope? The mentholated aspect which I thought was eucalyptus evolves into a herbal geranium – a note I’ve begun to love. It adds a cool, medicinal layer underneath the warmth of the roses, but still keeping the rose flavour pungent – adding a greener quality to them.

The geranium, rose basket and herbal notes get dizzying, hints of warm, subtle clove and the heat of pepper (a note I only recognize from Piment Brulant, and in Aftelier’s own Shiso) add even more little nuances that dart in and out of focus. At times I mistake the spice for carnation, and at others, a richly indolic jasmine similar to Secret Garden – a slightly resinous floral of orange blossom also makes an appearance, but all pushed out of view by the abstract rose. The turkish rose takes over the greener geranium notes in the heart, adding a more powdery, candied aspect to the florals without it ever being sweet – but still, hints of ripe fruit plump up the petals. What at first was apricot, now seems to have morphed into a plum – adding a fleshy, golden, dried fruit quality.

A patchouli arrives and gets louder after half an hour or so on the skin, and I’m convinced the jasmine is still there. The patchouli has the slightly smoky, rich and earthy quality that I have grown to love from the late drydown of Secret Garden – it’s a head spinning note and it almost seems to have an animal quality to it. A drop of civet in the base seems to be enriching both the patchouli and the roses – or the indole used in Sepia that seems to bring to life florals with an animalic, narcotic richness is at play.

The drydown manages to keep the rose and indole intact, along with the stewed fruit quality of apricot remains and wine-y plums, the earthiness of the patchouli creating a solid base, it all gives the fragrance a “mulled” feeling – boozy again. The animal quality is tame, but it’s there – it makes Wild Roses melt in a warm, human layer – enhanced by a growing, soft woody sweetness of vanillic benzoin. At times it seems to vanish during it’s heart, but when I pull my nose back again, it is out in full force – it is such a shapeshifter of a fragrance, but with a solid personality that remains true from start to finish, it just decides to play around with you whilst you try to figure it out.

Wild Roses is beautiful. A rose perfume that without a doubt stands above the hundreds of generic rose fragrances out there that seem to do little to the actual rose notes themself, and instead just build support around the singular essence. Here, the perfumer takes a rose and gives it a hundred faces – it becomes a rose that is spicy, fruity, sheer, boozy, herbal and green all at once. The fragrance is about the roses themselves and everything they can be, and are, and I love that. It can hardly be considered a rose soliflore, a portrait of a rose, or a landscape – it is a holograph if anything. A spiced, fruity floral that replaces expected candied sweetness with bitter herbs and raw earth – it sums up what Mandy’s perfume’s are all about. Wonderful :)

Wild Roses 30ml EDP Aftelier – $170

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Falling Into The Sea – Imaginary Authors (And A Big Ole Giveaway!!!)

Falling Into The Sea starts with a gloriously sweet, (aldehydic?) floral citrus. It’s hard to pin-point the notes in the opening, but I can’t help but note the lemon as a creamy, disinfectant style linalool – thankfully paired with a slightly bitter grapefruit note so that this association isn’t too dominating. The grapefruit/lemon seems paired with a hit of sharp green apple – it’s incredibly juicy but completely translucent, and I hate to use the word synthetic, but it smells like a synthetic overload of citrus’ and juicy fruits – some completely unidentifiable floral notes sit in the background… maybe a hint of tea rose? I love it!

The relatively linear scent revolves around this everlasting citrus accord – at times I find it refreshing, cheerful and mouthwatering, and at others I find it to have the aroma of a good handwash… But, even when I get that, it has the same kind of comforting and charming quality that Antiheros by Etat Libre D’Orange has – sure it just smells like lavender soap but something about it is super comfortable and bound to a put a smile on your face – the same goes here.

White musk seems to pop up in the drydown, and I’m pretty sure I get a bit of that fig leaf, green Stemone in the drydown, and I find Falling Into The Sea to be a brighter, more citrus heavy version of The Soft Lawn by Imaginary Authors. They share their similarities for sure, and I feel like I even detect a bit of the same linden blossom in the heart of this – a slight honeyed floral adding a dash of sweetness and pollen. The floral notes I still can’t pin point, at times I feel them in full, like there’s a 0.1% drop of Manoumalia sitting under the ozonic citrus, and at others, it is solely a musky, mineralic lemon cream (the salted musk from a drop of ambergris?): both ways are good to me.

Falling Into The Sea totally isn’t my sort of fragrance, but I really like it. It’s an almost robotic citrus fragrance, cold, fresh, with little warmth or heart – instead it’s a translucent, multicoloured citrus with many layers that are hard to pin point – it comes across as something extremely simplistic as my mind can’t really place anything in it or put it into any sort of order. Whilst I describe it as linear, something about its development is pretty kaleidoscopic – it’s a little landscape of a surreal summer – an abstract, beachy scent that is completely unfamiliar but thoroughly enjoyable. I’ll definitely be getting a bottle when the summer returns :) One of a kind for sure.

Falling Into The Sea 60ml EDP Imaginary Authors – $85


Ok, so the hugely generous Josh Meyer of Imaginary Authors is offering 2 sample sets of the entire Imaginary Authors line :)
These sample sets are awesome, the presentation is fab with all the carded marketing and presented in spray vials – it’s a great way to give lots of wearings to each of these awesome fragrances.

So there’s of coures going to be 2 winners, all you need to do is drop a comment below saying that you would like to participate – and let me know which fragrance from the Imaginary Authors line you are most looking forward to trying! :D I have written about all but one (which I will post in a few days).

Personally, my favourite is L’Orchidee Terrible – a fun, day-time avant-garde fragrance. An aldehydic overload and abstract orchid/honey combo sitting over a metallic musk, it’s fabulous :P

Anyway, so yes, I look forward to hearing from you below, and I’ll announce the lucky winners next Wednesday (14th November 2012)!!
A huge thank you to Josh, who has been great fun to chat to since discovering this line – a brilliant personality (and growing talent) in the niche fragrance industry!

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