Verveine d'Eugène / Verveine / Eau de Verveine / Lemon Verbena by Heeley

This doesn't really make me think of verbena, which I often find a bit too sweet, but rather reminds me of how the house smelled when jam was simmering (in my youth - I am not any kind of domestic goddess). There was a tart fruit smell which wafted around. I was also a child who ate lemons so anything very citrussy and dry is good for me. This is really what I always want in a cologne. Lovely green citrus and somewhat sweet herbal opening over a soft and nicely unobtrusive musk base.

A very easy and pleasant wear which never lets me down.
May 9, 2020

Vanille Insensée by Atelier Cologne

One spray of this and I was reminded of a Bruno Acampora oil (Vanyl) which foxed me a couple of months ago as I felt it was a 'green' vanilla in the sense of not sweet. Just read Kotori's review of Vanille Insensée here and she mentions that it smells like the pods rather than baked goods made with vanilla - that is spot on! I had become so used to vanilla being sweet and body lotionish that I'd completely lost the association with the real thing. So VI is a cool rather than cozy vanilla, and I like it. A couple of hours later, it's humming along and exuding a feeling of calm and wellbeing (not cookie scented at all!).
Although it's not something I'd rush out to get for myself, I'm very happy to try it and if I ever wanted a vanilla of this type it'd definitely be a contender.
Dec 18, 2017

Seplasia by Bruno Acampora

This is great! It's a fresh, sharp, green, citrus - it reminds me of all the ones I love - Cristalle, Tiare, etc, but also has a feel of the chypre of Prima T, although it's lighter and brighter. It has a coastal feel about it, although it's not exactly aquatic - evoking summer citrus and flowers and possibly pine, all above brightly crashing waves of foamy blue-green water. It's a breath of fresh air, but it has the Acampora depth as well, drying down in a few hours to a very pleasant skin scent with musk. Although I have already reapplied to get those first couple of hours again!
Sep 10, 2017

Civet by Zoologist Perfumes

This one has woken me up.

It's got that warm human/animal smell which could be described as spicy and somewhat honeyed with a strong backdrop of something like glue or soup. But what it actually makes me think of is a presence with some dried but not stale urine and later a little saltiness like sweat. This may not sound appealing but it pulls at a visceral level, in the way of classical perfumes - it's not a rendition of something that smells 'good' like a flower, but of actual funk which smells good to the beast in me. It's warm and enveloping and comforting, not in a vanilla biscuit way, but in a 'belonging to and present on the earth' feeling.

It's also got some spice and florals coming in and out. I couldn't pick out individual notes as I'm so taken by the changing mosaic of smells I get when I sniff my arm. This one will need several wears - another great example of how a new perfume can impress and enthrall.
Sep 7, 2017

Hummingbird by Zoologist Perfumes

This is a fruity-floral and has apple.

That sentence contains two perfume descriptions that can often send me running for the hills. But not today - I'm loving this!

Apple is a note that I often can't stand due to fashion for something called Green Apple shampoo in my youth. I worked as a lifeguard at an indoor pool and the changing rooms used to reek of it. I love apples but there was a sickly quality to whatever accords they were using in the shampoos that was almost headachey to me. So I'm very very wary of apple showing up in perfume.

However, Hummingbird has a more realistic and soft apple note, which I quite like as it has apple's freshness as well as sweetness, and Hummingbird is a delightfully fresh and sweet perfume without a citrus in sight.

After the apple, there's a gorgeous cherry note - verging on artificial cherry (black cherry yoghurt) - this by contrast is a fruit accord that I always love to bits in its most artificial form - probably because in my wet and windy Irish childhood we never got to smell real cherries! There's also plum and a host of florals including honeysuckle - I can feel a sweet honey taste on my tongue with this one. AND it has that 'Flex shampoo' sweet balsam feel that reminds me of my childhood - this smell featured in little make-up remover pads that my mother's generation had.

The sweetness is almost powdery bubblegum in quality and very much a taste (meaning physical tongue taste) as well as a smell. This is off my usual beat and I'm glad of it - it's cheery and sweet and loveable and hopefully these qualities rub off on the wearer!
Sep 5, 2017

More Beauty Than Beast Eau de Parfum by The Rising Phoenix Perfumery

It's an aromatic and spicy mix buoyed up by citrus (grapefruit), with a really interesting doughy or papery note that I can't identify (possibly from sandalwood). It has a lovely effect on me, lifting my mood and calming me. I get a 'salve' or 'embrocation' feeling from it, almost more medicinal than perfume-like at this stage. It's also got that great lightness and balsamic mix which is perfect for daytime. The rum note is not boozy-sweet but has the dry aromatic/dark sugar feel of aged Barceló rum (which was a weapon of choice of mine with soda and fresh lemon juice in my gilded youth).

After half an hour, there's a lovely complex vanilla and sandalwood backdrop rising around the freshness.
Aug 29, 2017

Immortal Beloved by YS Uzac

This smells like a boozy sweet eggy pudding when it goes on. I await developments...
It's bread and butter pudding! This may not sound like a fine fragrance note but it's delicious. It's not sugary sweet and has a big round booze and woods feeling to it. Good for an evening scent, and not like anything I can think of offhand, but also not in any way odd or edgy. It's very comfortable, and I'd imagine is great in winter.
As it progresses it loses the sweetness and is a dry wood with something of an old book lined study about it.
Aug 15, 2017

Bruno by Bruno Acampora

Bruno is a change from my idea of Acamporas - it goes on with that addictive shoe polish whiff that I associate with Oud (I think!).
There's a spark of grapefruit in there too, which is just enough to lift what is quite a dark wood scent. It also has a touch of the furry sweetness of musk and patchouli in the base . This would be nice in winter, but I think the grapefruit buoys it up enough for summer wear too. It develops into a lovely sparkling wood - by which I mean it is deep and dark but not dull.
Aug 11, 2017

Sballo by Bruno Acampora

Sballo is really perfumy, and I like it very much on first meeting. It manages to have that old-style chypre opening without getting shrieky. It's got quite a lot of rose, and something like a dried fruit (raisin or sultana) and some spiciness. It feels like the 1940s in my imagination for some reason - tailored suits and glamour. Now a couple of hours later, there's a softly spicy patchouli base (rather than the usual musk).
Aug 10, 2017

Volubilis by Bruno Acampora

One of the 'older' Acamporas - this is a surprise! It outgreens Corsica Furiosa in the vegetable/herby green stakes, with a crunchy green (something like green bell pepper in feel) and non-sweet mint opening. This is a sharp green I like, something like when you snap the stalk of a daffodil. The green note is quite prominent but there must be something below it - the notes say rose and iris - I'm getting a bit of the saltiness I love in other BAs, particularly Iranzol.

This for the oil. I don't think this is 'masculine' - I'm female and like it very much - I suppose it's not feminine in a floral sense.
Aug 6, 2017

Azzurro di Capri by Bruno Acampora

This for the oil, so superstrength!

It starts as a very beautiful, very sweet orange floral, with huge depth as well. This is not my usual beat and seemed almost overpowering at first. It settles down a little later but the orange note remains fresh and strong throughout with some very sultry jasmine. The whole effect is that of a sumptuous and highly scented garden. It manages to carry this off without going too cloying. It stays very fresh throughout the day - by fresh I mean very floral fresh, something like a turbocharged Tommy Girl type floral, rather than a green citrus Cristalle type. Unlike the other BAs it could be a daytime fragrance, and brings to mind white jeans and sea breezes, but impeccable white jeans with silk t-shirts and scarves rather than crumpled linen. I am not a white jeans person (they'd last 2 minutes!) but I still like this enough that I'll wear it from time to time.
Aug 5, 2017

Like This / Tilda Swinton Like This by Etat Libre d'Orange

Like This shouldn't work for me - it's very sweet in a sugary way. But it's a million miles from what sweet normally goes with in perfume. Like This smells of slightly burnt sugar and spices (gingerbread or ginger biscuits). It works for me in the same way as some beach fragrances do - it's more of a smell photo than a perfume. I really like it and spend my time sniffing my wrist.

There's a depth to it as well, it smells home-like and autumnal - the orange colour and spices have me thinking of large warm kitchens with windows steaming up. But it's not a 'home fragrance' candidate - it works beautifully on skin.
Aug 2, 2017

Tsarina by Ormonde Jayne

This is a gorgeous winter or autumn perfume - it's smooth as silk, and the scent of this on a scarf makes me want to wrap up warm and go out for a bracing walk, shielded by its golden aura (think a grown up Reddybrek kid fondly imagining herself redone by Vogue). I know it's inspired by Russia, but this one makes me think of London on dry winter days - the old wood, brass and stone of shops and the elegance of the parks in winter. I spent a winter in London many years ago and I think these images evoked by Tsarina are basically my Edwardian fantasy of comfort and wealth - akin to that huntin' shootin' fishin' fantasy of old money that made bankers want to wear smelly Barbour jackets in summer and drive Range Rovers around city streets. But Tsarina is a beautiful thing in itself rather than a facsimile of an imagined good life.

Tsarina is beautifully blended with a softly bouyant opening of orange and a peppery coriander, with a fairly muted white floral and iris mixture following. The base is soft and furry and longlasting with woods and musk.
Jul 31, 2017

La Colonia by Avant-Garden Lab

I expected La Colonia to be a twist on a classic cologne, but this is quite different. It's fruity - more mandarin orange than lemony although the notes say bergamot (which I have recently learned is technically an orange so maybe), and has the Oliver futuristic synthetic note in just the right amount. This is a note that put me off some of the other Oliver and Co offerings, it's something like that attractive/repulsive smell of a dry-cleaning shop - a chemical 'taste' that you feel on your tongue. I know this probably sounds awful, but it works here by lifting the sweet orangey cologne out of the ordinary - maybe the odd note is highlighting the rest - which would otherwise go unnoticed? The notes list dill, jasmine, and lily of the valley as well as cedar and an ozonic note. The word 'ozonic' is often enough to strike dread into my heart, but here it's not at all annoying, and seems to just lift the fragrance. Maybe the dill combined with the florals is what makes the futuristic note - the whole thing is reminding me of these oranges we'd get as children - they were big and oddly weak in flavour and felt 'drier' than normal oranges. Again, not an image that would normally make my tastebuds (or nostrils) quiver, but today the offbeat seems to be what I need.
Jul 29, 2017

Lyn Harris : Le Noir by Marks and Spencer

Le Noir is citrus herby with a peppery tang and patchouli in the base. It's got a lovely 'oily' lavender which never gets sweet.. It's very pleasant, and keeps me sniffing because the herbiness reminds me a bit of Fleurs de Sel, although Le Noir is much less complex (and also at full price would have been way way less than half the price). It's probably more suited to cooler weather but I enjoyed it on a showery day today. It's a little fleeting but can be sprayed with abandon (or maybe not, as it's been discontinued!)
Jul 28, 2017

Delicious Closet Queen by Etat Libre d'Orange

This opens very sweet with a wave of raspberry violet and a little leather, but has something of a watered down feeling -- like a toy perfume for kids. But it quickly gets spicier. It has good staying power, and remains interesting - the sweet leathery spicy thing is nothing earth shattering but the odd candy note keeps it somehow in tension between a fruity floral and something almost Christmassy. I like it very much but for sporadic wearings.

Of course, it's discontinued.
Jul 20, 2017

L'Ete en Douce / Extrait de Songes by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I've always liked linden blossom in perfumes, and this is a nice summery light floral with grassy notes and a little citrus hint from a dollop of orange blossom, except for an odd impression I get from it and from L'Eau de l'Artisan.

It seems like a chemical sweet smell that reminds me of rubbers (erasers) we had as children. There were two types - the standard almost grainy ones, and these snazzier coloured ones which were almost like a very stiff gel and had this smell which was sweet but somehow plasticky - I spent a lot of time smelling these and being tempted to eat them - they weren't the fruit ones that were supposed to smell like fruit, they just had this odd sweet smell. I've also gotten the same whiff from a deodorant I had at one stage. It's as if the various component notes produce this overall effect alongside the perfume. It does smell like a linden blossom or even like lilac but somewhat hyperreal. I read a review of this once that mentioned the smell of biro ink and it was dead on. Also ClaireV's review mentions gripe water, which has that wierd sweet smell too. So I'm not able to escape this effect and actually appreciate the perfume.
Jul 20, 2017

Il Libro Degli Agrumi : Verde d'Arancia by Monotheme

Oranges, oranges, oranges.

Wishing I'd put this in the fridge before I put it on. Anyway, it's definitely not going to last long so I'll put it in there now for later refreshment. It's a gorgeous day here and I wanted something uncomplicated and summery, so I got this out. The only note info I've seen is orange peel, but there's more in there - maybe a hint of vetiver and something woody? It really is orangey - both zesty and sweet and has a lovely juicy depth almost like those very very orangey ice lollies from my youth.

It's simple and undemanding and perfect for a slopping around sunny Sunday!
Jul 20, 2017

Jean Marie Farina by Roger & Gallet

Hot hot day - cologne cologne cologne!

This is great to reapply throughout the day to get a bit of freshness, it's a classic cologne which is quite herbal (rosemary) on top of the bergamot citrus opening. It's not overly sweet and has a nice 'catch' or bite from the herbs.
Jul 20, 2017

L'Air du Désert Marocain by Tauer

I have never regarded L'Air du Desert Marocain as a winter scent, despite its spicy resinous nature. There is something fresh and airy about it. In fact, it does the vast internal space trick better than Timbuktu in my opinion. Yes, it's a spicy (almost foodie), incensy, rosy, woody powerhouse, but it's definitely not a warm winter smell for me. This may be because I've spent some time East of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, and the smell is associated with warm sunny weather and clear night skies in my head.

This brings to mind the smell of cedar and cloves and cooking and roses, even if they're not all in there. Oddly enough, when I used to go to Morocco quite a bit, I never thought of actually wearing any of these spicy oriental smells - my weapon of choice while there was always something sharp and fresh and not so feminine - Cristalle for example. I guess I still feel the notes in L'Air du Desert Marocain as an atmosphere or surrounding rather than a perfume, but it's a cloud I'm often blissed out to be walking around in.

Sometimes, I find spicy incense scents have a damp or dank rough edge to them, which may also contribute to my feeling that they are not winter scents. This isn't really present here in L'Air du Desert Marocain, which is beautifully dry, but the coolness is - there's a lovely vetiver streak running through it without a hint of cloying sweetness. That's actually the trick of L'Air du Desert Marocain for me - it's not at all cloying.

And the best part is - it's available in 15ml bottles as part of Andy Tauer's Explorer set of 3 15ml sizes.
Jul 20, 2017

LouLou by Cacharel

LouLou is a lot of fun - very sweet, with loads of oriental spice and something fruity, and tonnes of vanilla. It has a sense of something like a berry flavoured spicy sweet - maybe some sort of nougat or even tea.

It's not really me but I'm happy for it to be me for a day or two! There's nothing not to love about it - and this is wearing it on a very hot and sweaty day - it has a lightness and joie de vivre that stops it being overpowering even in these conditions!
Jul 20, 2017

Séville à l'Aube by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Séville à l'Aube is sweet orange and incense with a nice tarry edge along with some honey. I like it but can sometimes find it a little cloying. It doesn't really make me think of Seville or even Spain, but it is one of the few perfumes that I think only works at night, and outside on a summer's night if possible. In this warm night-scented floral incense vibe, it has a midnight in an exotic garden feeling, but for me it isn't muscular enough to evoke Spain. But then again, there is a certain honeyed orangey tobacco tinged feeling to the drydown that may indeed be Seville.
Jul 20, 2017

Resina by Avant-Garden Lab

Resina is a lovely mix of (duh!) resins, and is woody and spicy, but it really scores for me because it has a buoyancy lifting it out of more fougère territory. This seems to be thanks to the anis running through it and also to a spicy lift early in its development. This gives the same type of lift as clove but doesn't smell like clove - it must be the mace mentioned in the usual Oliver & Co massive list of notes. I can't remember what mace smells like but remember it as one of the 'Christmas' type spices.

After a bit of internet research, it turns out that mace comes from this weird outer coating on nutmeg, and is lighter and sweeter - this is exactly the feeling I get in Resina - something light lifting the balsamy resins. I haven't seen mace as a note often - maybe due to possible confusion with Mace spray (which the internet tells me is unrelated to the spice - Mace is the brand name). So, as happens with that toothpaste quality to Méchant Loup, Resina is a rich spicy scent which can also be worn in warm weather. It also scores in that it doesn't become overpowering or headachey at all.
Jul 20, 2017

Cristalle Eau de Toilette by Chanel

This was and is one of my favourites. I love the almost harsh opening blast, and the citrus, and the oakmoss (maybe nowadays sense memory is playing a part in my enjoyment!). I've loved this for a long long time - it is diamond bright and sharp and clear. There is no gummy sweet musk messing up the drydown so it's a brief pleasure. But the first hour is such a joy that I happily respray. In fact, I dream of facial wipes scented with this - it's almost a scented hanky or smelling salts experience rather than a skin scent. I adore the almost repulsively sharp green icy (and probably very prosaic alcohol) rush which wakes me up and makes me aware that there is elegance in the world. Cristalle, to me. is not a natural object but rather a perfect manmade thing, in the way a cut diamond is a manmade creation of the uncut mineral.
Jul 20, 2017

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