Verveine Narcisse by Creed

Creed Verveine Narcisse has a fairly linear development on me, with incremental changes during its 10-hour wear as it hovers closely above my skin.

It opens with a relatively dry herbal note, with few dewy drops on the grass and barely any citrus nuance. The narcissus arrives fairly quickly to mingle with the herbal note, with its slightly astringent and bitter tobacco aspect accompanied by a subtle vanilla-like creamy undertone. Verveine Narcisse then remains this softly mossy, creamy tobacco skin scent until the end, turning more amorphous and with a more prominent sweet vegetal musky undertone.

Overall, I find Verveine Narcissus a pretty solid unisex musky tobacco perfume. Its fairly low-key performance makes it a perfect everyday perfume with elegance, but on the flip side, it's not very exciting, especially if you already have your everyday tobacco perfume covered. I think fans of Ormonde Jayne Montabaco who seek a slightly more opaque and creamy version might have fun sampling Verveine Narcisse, but otherwise I don't think one would miss much without sampling it, especially considering its limited availability.
Oct 30, 2019

Community by The Zoo

Wearing Community is an unexpectedly nostalgic experience for me, because its first 3 hours smells very reminiscent of a cucumber facial wash cream that I used during my teenage years. It's probably the kind of dewy, aqueous, almost crystalline aspect of melon minus its juicy sweetness, combined with a subtle, ivory soap-like silky creamy undertone, that creates this association to me.

As this "cucumber facial wash" vibe gradually fades, a slightly spicy grassy note emerges, which is quite similar to how I perceive cis-3-hexenol, the main fragrant component of freshly cut grass. I, like many people, find the smell of freshly mown lawn invigorating when I catch whiffs of it by the wind. But it often appears quite harsh and overpowering to me in a perfume, because I'm more or less trapped in its range for hours, which is unfortunately the case with Community too.

Luckily, a tender, slightly melon-y but mostly abstract fruity sweetness soothes the brash grassy note with time. And softly resinous and grassy labdanum also peeks out from time to time in the dry down to anchor the fragrance without weighing it down. I also occasionally catch a faint whiff of a bitter and salty herbalness, but it's not concrete or strong enough to evoke any particular note to me. The sillage is mostly moderate during its 7 hours wear on me.

Because of its "cucumber facial wash" nostalgic factor, I was quite amused when sampling Community. The subtle warming labdanum in its far dry down is also a wonderful touch to anchor a fresh grassy perfume instead of the more cliché route of mainly relying on soapy white musk. However, it still doesn't overcome the harsh feeling of many grassy perfumes that rely on cis-3-Hexenol or similar components in my opinion. Overall, I'd say Community does its job as a conventional fresh perfumes in the Niche market, as long as one is not too sensitive to those grass-imitating aromachemicals.
Oct 16, 2019

Club Design by The Zoo

Club Design opens with a fizzy, petrichor-like humid earthy smell, as well as a pungently marine, almost fishy saltiness. The humid earthiness reminds me of the opening of Thierry Blondeau Narcisse Emoi, while the brash fishy note smells like a relative of Calone to me. Because of the pungency of the opening, and my struggle with most synthetic fishy marine notes, Club Design can be quite nauseating to me, unless on a hot day when the opening evaporates much more quickly.

The soft suede leather reveals itself on my skin usually around 2 hours in, and doesn't completely shake off the fizzy humid earthy aspect and pervasive fishy marine note until after about 5 hours. I can see the rubber/new car interior comparison, as the fragrance is indeed quite artifical-smelling for a leather-themed perfume, but more on an overall, abstract level. On a more specific detail level, I'd agree more with the comparison to Hermès Galop, as the suede in both perfumes shares this chewy texture similar to turkish delight to me, as well as an abstract musky fruity undertone. However, the fruity syrup in Galop is replace by fake petrichor and artificial marine notes here at first, and then by a more heightened medicinal bitterness of saffron later on.

When those artifical-smelling opening notes completely disappear in the late dry down, Club Design is indeed quite comfortable as a sleek suede skin scent, flankered by a discreet musky fruity woody cedar to my nose. The sillage is usually moderate on my skin, while the longevity is often 8-9 hours with one good spray.

My opinions on Club Design have been constantly swinging left and right during those a few weeks when I wore it. At first I was instantly repulsed by the difficult opening notes, then I began to doubt whether its artificality is actually a masterstroke, and again I question myself if I'd given Club Design a second thought if it had come out from a brand with a much lower profile than the Zoo, and again and again. But then, when I compare it to other perfumes that play around the idea of artificiality, such as Vaporocindro and Dinudisit by January Scent Project, Womanity by Thierry Mugler, La Fin du Monde by Etat Libre d'Orange, Club Design doesn't feel as compelling as them to me.

While I was initially taken aback by most of them, the dissonance between unabashedly synthetic elements and more natural-smelling elements soon evolves into an unexpected harmony as well as a fascinating, complex puzzle that draws me in. But Club Design just feels like layering an elegant suede perfume with openly synthetic elements to make it more "edgy". The suede skin scent is proper, the synthetic petrichor and marine notes are provocative, and a salty suede leather skin scent has great potential, but the end result in Club Design doesn't seem to elevate the idea beyond individual elements.

As a side note, I only tested Club Design on my skin, but haven't yet tried it as a fabric scent as it's intended (apparently its coumarin and safranal exceeds the upper limit for a skin perfume according to the official website). It's possible that it might work better on fabric, but as a personal perfume, I would only recommend Club Design if you're looking for a scent reminiscent of "new car interior" with an unapologetically synthetic vibe.
Aug 11, 2019

Un Jardin sur la Lagune by Hermès

Un Jardin sur La Lagune opens with a refreshing, sparkling lemon on my skin, not as ripe and juicy as in Eau du Citron Noir, but imparting an equally natural feeling. Unfortunately, this fresh, aromatic lemon's fate also mirrors that succulent ripe lemon in Eau du Citron Noir: quickly tainted by acrid, screechy woody amber aromachemicals. Here, they're not as smoky as in Eau du Citron Noir, but mainly to provide a dry, almost dessicated texture to a salty, slightly mineral note, in order to imitate the ambient aroma of sea water in canals and stone walls in Venice.

Although I do detect the delicious, jasmine tea-like redolence of pitosporum on the test strip, on my skin, the floral notes in La Lagune remain frustratingly vague throughout the whole development. Once the fresh lemon note completely disappears after about 2 hours, Un Jardin sur La Lagune then remains this abstract, slightly salty floral musk with an unpleasantly fuzzy undertone of woody amber aromachemicals. The later eventually take over after 5 hours and turn La Lagune into an amorphous woody amber musk, not unlike the far dry down of many current masculine perfumes centred around these popular woody amber aromachemicals.

Un Jardin sur La Lagune has a moderate sillage on me and is pretty tenacious thanks to its woody amber musk dry down, lasting almost 11 hours on my skin.

Although I can more or less see why these elements are chosen to recreate the imagery of hidden garden behind stone walls with wafts of sea water through the canals, the abstract combined effect doesn't smell convincing to me. I guess this rather atmospheric treatment aims to be coherent with the rest of Les Jardins series, but the problem for me is that, while those scorching woody amber aromachemicals and inorganic-feeling mineral notes can work magic when they're cleverly disguised within other notes or when they're surrounded by vivid details, they often appear very artificial to me when they're laid out bare or without enough intricate details to smooth out the edge, which is more or less what I perceive in Un Jardin sur La Lagune. Because of the noticeable presence of woody amber aromachemicals and a resulting more harsh texture, I'd recommend it to those who enjoy Eau du Citron Noir and are interested in a slightly marine twist, rather than those who enjoy the previous entries of Les Jardins series.
Mar 15, 2019

Dawn by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Frederic Malle Dawn opens with a quite fierce oud. It has the similarly animalic, sour and fermented aspects like the Indian oud in The Night. However, instead of a full-on barnyard stroll, it also clearly exhibits a rubbery facet that fits the profile of Laotian oud that I've encountered so far. As a result, Dawn is indeed lighter than The Night, but overall speaking it's still fairly animalic as an oud perfume.

However, like The Night, the authentic oud characteristics in Dawn retreat to the background rather quickly, and what's left is only a softly sweet and resinous woody backbone with flickers of rose petals. Moreover, it's gradually consumed by a standard olibanum incense and labdanum amber accord, and further dried out by a discreet touch of woody amber aromachemicals, to the extent that the dry down after about 4 hours is almost solely a desiccating incense than anything smelling remotely of oud.

I got a medium to soft sillage with Dawn and a longevity of at least 8 hours on my skin.

For me, The Night and Dawn share the same syndrome: a fairly authentic oud opening undermined by ubiquitous, uninspiring rose and amber/incense accords. If Dawn was released two years ago, I would have recommended it along with The Night as an example of animalic oud to sample, because even though they're fairly standard and unimaginative, at least they showcase the animalic aspects of oud pretty well and are put out by a well-established brand. However, during these two years, many artisanal and independent brands have come up with oud perfumes either more authentic, more innovative, more sophisticated or more luxurious, and with a more interesting price at that. Therefore, I would not particularly recommend Dawn before other more interesting oud perfumes.
Mar 2, 2019

Vanille & Narcisse by L'Occitane

The opening of Vanille & Narcisse does have some black currants. It then soon evolves into a combination of vanilla, tonka beans and some yellow flowers, which strangely smells a little sour to me. Actually I'm not sure if I smell narcissus. The floral part slightly reminds of Lancôme Poême. Towards the end, with yellow flowers fading, the powdery vanilla and tonka beans combo also has some caramel-like aspect.

The longevity is around 7 hours on me. The sillage is moderate and manages to keep the intensity during the wearing. It's quite sweet and intense. Overdoing it will be tiring.
Feb 6, 2019

Honeymania by Body Shop

Honeymania opens with sweet honey. However, it soon dissipates into a soapy so-called wildflower scent. On me it tends to be a little unpleasantly synthetic and I can hardly detect honey any more once those wildflowers kick in.

The longevity is around 5 hours on me. The sillage is moderate and comparing to some of the one-note offerings from TBS, is actually quite good. I find the wildflower part does give out a bright and carefree feeling. However, it's really a Flowermania IMO. This is not where you should looking for a sticky sugary honey treat.
Feb 6, 2019

Mandragore by Annick Goutal

This review is based on Eau de Toilette concentration.

The initial blast of Mandragore contains a lot of bergamot, very refreshing and energetic. The citrus soon hides away as a supporting role and reveals a combination of anise, mint and ginger. It's green, fresh, reviving, zesty and sparkling. I was overwhelmed by this phase as this combination of spices which is usually thick, actually delivers such an unusually translucent scent.

However, this phase doesn't hold up very long and it soon was taken over by a spicy and earthy scent. The spices are still the same as above, but no longer freshly picked. They're dried and their ultimate spiciness are sublimed. Interestingly the fragrance remains ethereal even at this stage.

Unfortunately, Mandragore turns bland and watery afterwards, and loses its vivacity and strength. It was soft at the beginning and now it stays extremely close to skin. It dies after about 4 or 5 hours on me, which is weak among those I tried from Annick Goutal.

Mandragore, in contrary to the prune bottle and the mysterious name, is actually green to my nose. I appreciate the aromatic and spicy stages towards the beginning very much. However, these interesting stages doesn't last long (about 1 hour) and the fragrance itself either, which implies frequent reapplication to me. I'm curious if EDP would suit me better.

Nontheless, this should not hold you back from trying it. This green aromatic fragrance, lasting or not, has a very interesting twist that can hardly be described, but to be experienced by oneself.
Feb 5, 2019

Mandragore Pourpre by Annick Goutal

Mandragore Pourpre, compared to the original Mandragore, opens much darker, earthier and spicier. The bergamot and the mint are still present throughout the development. But it's no longer as green and crisp as Mandragore. The anise and the pepper turn the whole composition into another deeper colour.

In the drydown, Mandragore Pourpre has a sweeter facet than the original edition. The amber and the myrhh give an oriental vibe. If sniffed closely, the heliotrope and the incense are also distinguishable.

Although Mandragore Pourpre has quite a different character from the orginal Mandragore, their connection is evident: the same elements they share are embodied in the same way. Interestingly, Mandragore Pourpre has the same ethereal texture as the origianl edition even it's significantly spicer, which makes it inoffensive while keeping it stand out. The fact that it's spicer and darker, also helps to keep its strength and its vivacity, contrary to the original Mandragore which tends to fall bland in the drydown.

The sillage is relatively close even sprayed liberally. The longevity is around 6 hours, which is ok for an EDT. I'd definitely recommend giving it a try. An interesting olfactory experience it shall be.
Feb 5, 2019

Chantal Thomass by Chantal Thomass

The opening of Chantal Thomass is peculiar, a lot of cherries, cranberries and raspberries, and most of all, a striking tomato scent! This combination to my nose smells exactly like dried cherry tomato, yummy and very delightful.

After about 3 hours, the fragrance settles down into a powdery floral skin scent while sandalwood and a light touch of pathouli preventing it falling bland. This phase reminds me of Givenchy Dahlia Noir. Both are chiffon-like understated scents.

The sillage is moderate during the opening then it mellows down into a skin scent and it can reach to 7 hours for longevity in a hot summer day. I think it's a clever fragrance, with a memorising opening and a comforting drydown. I wouldn't recommend blind buying it as the opening is quite a particular scent but it certainly worths a try!
Jan 21, 2019

Florabotanica by Balenciaga

The name of Florabotanica sums quite well how the perfume actually smells : flowers and green plants. Upon application, Florabotanica combines rose, carnation and some greenness. The rose is not overly sweet, but on the clean, fresh and green side. The carnation offers some bitterness. The mint contributes the greenness without giving out the chill cooling vibe like some sporty fragrances. During the wearing, I can also smell some white flowers like jasmine. However, it eventually returns to the initial combination and stays so firmly till the end.

The sillage is relatively close and the longevity is simply outstanding, 12h+. It's an understated and inoffensive scent with a steady structure. It certainly is not a masterpiece, but a well-made everyday fragrance for green floral lovers.

Edit: I recently tried Jardins d'Ecrivains Junky which features a very prominent cannabis note. Now I can also discern it in Florabotanica. However, here it only acts like a supporting role, lending an earthy vibe and preventing the fragrance becoming too clean, a very clever touch!
Jan 21, 2019

Burberry Brit for Men by Burberry

After the initial few seconds of citrus opening, Burberry Brit for Men turns out to be peppery and extremely woody on me. Spices mixes very well with the woody notes. The ginger here is quite dry.

This first hour projects well and is the most masculine phase to my nose. Afterwards, some floral aspects start to mellow the scent down and eventually turn it into a powdery scent described by previous reviews. However, it's not overtly feminine, and I can't really tell the rose. During the transition, at certain point, it smells quite soapy and alike to the aldehyde in Miroir des Secrets to my nose.

Towards the final phase after about 5 hours, Brit for Men stays very close to skin and becomes a comforting scent prominent of tonka beans and musk, though the woods are always detectable.

The longevity in total can reach 10 hours and the average sillage is relatively close. Elegant, understated and without being pretentious. A versatile fragrance with attitude. This might not be THE gem in one's wardrobe but a total functional one.

Jan 21, 2019

White Musk White Hot Summer by Body Shop

Contrary to the sunset-like summery bottle, White Musk White Hot Summer is actually a subtle powdery fragrance. The opening has quite a lot alcohol, with a hit of bergamot and violet. However, it soon settles down to a powdery combination of orris root and heliotrope. The carnation offers some spiciness to uplift the flowers. At the late drydown, there is also a soft creamy woody smell.

The sillage is close along the 5 hours' wearing. Considering the powdery texture, I'd prefer wearing it in spring and autumn. A versatile fragrance at a reasonable price.
Jan 21, 2019

Paris by Yves Saint Laurent

Paris EDT opens slightly sharp. It's ozonic, aldehydic and soapy. It then gradually morphs into a smooth powdery flower bouquet. Rose, hiacynth, violet, mimosa, lily of the valley, jasmine and other flowers interlock with one another. I can hardly pick either one out of the bouquet. It has a floral-type of sweetness, and it smells perfume-y. It doesn't smell unpleasantly synthetic, but it certainly doesn't aim to smell like real flowers. It's an artifice, cleverly structrued and well refined. Glamourous as it is, Paris EDT is surprisingly airy to my nose. I didn't find myself wearing a heavy velvet coat. Instead, it wears like a gauzy aura gently hovering around me. I doubt if the EDP has the same texture, though.

However, I do find that Paris is from an era other than our current one. Paris is like some timeless icons such as Audrey Hepburn : people admire their elegance and beauty but one does not necessarily wear exactly the same way as they do in their times. I admire and respect them as an inspiration. I'd occasionally treat myself with a few spritzes of Paris EDT to be embraced by its grace.

By the way, Paris EDT has a moderate sillage on me even with a few spritzes, but it lasts a good 12 hours and survives a shower.
Jan 21, 2019

White Musk Libertine by Body Shop

The opening of White Musk Libertine EDP seems to be out of balance. A lot of alcohol bursts out with overwhelming sweet honey, cream and rose. However, given a few minutes to allow it settle down, the balance among these ingredients is recovered. Although it's not an exact replica of turkish delight, this creamy compostion certainly has several characteristics of this delicious confectionary and vaguely reminds me of it. The scent doesn't evolve much afterwards, but simply fades away. And the musk is not very prominent on my skin. The sillage of EDP is close to skin and the longevity is about 6 hours.

The EDT concentration opens quite balanced like the EDP once settled down. However, it soon loses its strength and waters down. I thus largely prefer EDP once the opening has passed.
Jan 14, 2019

Angel Eau de Toilette by Thierry Mugler

While wearing Angel EDT, I totally agree that it shares some similarities with Innocent and Angel La Rose, as bergamot and red berries have a similar masculine edge like in Innocent, and there is also some salty peppery characristics like in Angel La Rose.

The transition to the delicious praline is so smooth that I can't really figure out when it peeped out. The red berries are always there with some tartness to refresh the creamy praline. The patchouli can be felt but on my skin I don't find it that fierce like in EDP.

The sillage is relatively close and it lasts and lasts, almost 12 hours. It's definitely in the same line of Angel EDP and it's much cleaner and more understated. Although Angel EDT didn't really bring something entirely new, it's no doubt an adorable fragrance. It may not seem to be a necessary for someone who already owns several products of the Angel line, but for someone who's starting his adventure to explore Angel or Thierry Mugler universe, Angel EDT can serve well to open the magical gate.
Jan 14, 2019

Eau de Narcisse Bleu by Hermès

Contrary to what the name suggests, I get very few narcissus from Eau de Narcisse Bleu. It's very woody on me even to a spicy extent. This stage lasts about 3 hours max then turns into a bitter carrot skin scent quite similar to in Un Jardin sur le Nil for another 2 hours. Overall green and woody, a refreshing close-to-skin fragrance for spring and summer. However, I find it too expensive for such a sheer and linear fragrance.
Jan 14, 2019

Un Jardin Sur Le Toit by Hermès

The first 2 hours of Un Jardin sur le Toit is really pleasant. After the initial green opening, a red apple scent emerges out. Such a fresh, sweet and juicy scent that conjures the joy of life and nature. There is also some pear and green grass complimenting the charming apple. This phase is no doubt fruity, but absolutely not those syrupy candied ones, but a sincere and natural fruity scent.

However, once dried down, Un Jardin sur le Toit loses its vivacity and becomes a green and bitter skin scent which reminds me of the first two Jardins, as if the party comes to the end right after it had just started. It's not bad but it could have been more interesting.

The sillage is close and the longevity is around 4 to 5 hours. Although the apple in Un Jardin sur le Toit enchanted me, this remains my least favourite among the whole Jardin series.
Jan 14, 2019

Passage d'Enfer by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Passage d'enfer is an almost pure incense fragrance to my nose. There is a light touch of flower to fresh up the scent, some woody notes and some musk. But they all serve to complement the incense. The scent doesn't change much during the wearing, juste a bit more woody while gradually fading. The sillage is close and it lasted at least 6 hours on me.

The incense in Passage d'enfer is actually quite impressive. It's so realistic that it immediately makes me think of Chinese temples. Due to this fact, to me it's more an ambiance fragrance than an actual perfume that I'd wear in person. But it worths trying especially for incense fans.
Jan 12, 2019

Un Matin d'Orage Eau de Toilette by Annick Goutal

Un Matin d'Orage opens like a blooming gardenia under the rain. It's creamy and intense, as if it's enhanced by the rain. Some characteristics of jasmine and magnonlia can be detected though they never take the leading role of gardenia.

This strong gardenia phase lasts around 2 hours then gradually mellows. It seems to be linear. However, it takes a twist after about 5 hours as it becomes soapy and green. There is also some ginger-like spiciness that tickles the nose. This sort of humid spicy feeling matches the name perfectly.

The sillage is moderate especially during the opening. The longevity is around 7 hours. Usually I'm not very fan of Annick Goutal's floral offerings. But Un Matin d'Orage turns out quite pleasant to my nose. Moreover, it has some green aspects that I also find in some of their aromatic offerings and I'm quite fond of. A lovely green floral fragrance perfect for spring and summer!
Jan 12, 2019

Un Matin d'Orage Eau de Parfum by Annick Goutal

I was able to compare both the EDT and the latest EDP of Un Matin d'Orage side by side. These two concentrations are pretty similar in the opening: creamy dewy gardenia. The EDP feels a bit more intense and sweeter, but only slightly.

The major difference is in the drydown. The gardenia in the EDT gradually mellows into a soapy green ambiance, while in the EDP, it insteand becomes more luscious. The gardenia note in the EDP is still pretty similar to that in the EDT, but the tuberose nuance is also more detectable. Although I can't really discern amber, myrrh and vanilla, but they certainly add more heft to the gardenia. I would say the EDP is one step closer to those big florals from the same house, such as Songes and Passion, than the EDT.

On me, the gardenia in EDT gets lost in the green elements after about 4 to 5 hours, but in EDP it's more present even after 7 hours and the total longevity is almost 12 hours. The sillage of EDP is also moderate to heavy, espacially during the first 2 hours.

Personally, I still find the EDT suits best 'a stormy morning' with its brilliant dewy green elements accompanying the creamy gardenia, but its performance and the elusive gardenia do leave me desiring something more. If you happen to have similar feeling towards the EDT, you may want to try the lastest EDP version of Un Matin d'Orage.
Jan 12, 2019

Jimmy Choo by Jimmy Choo

After a fruity opening of a few minutes, with the entrance of toffee and patchouli, Jimmy Choo did make think of Van Cleef & Arpels Oriens. While I was not very fond of the floured raspberry in Oriens, Jimmy Choo's pear and mandarin manage to show a more juicy aspect.

Then the fragrance evolves into its own path. The toffee becomes richer, more creamy, thus makes the whole scent sweeter, while the fruits tend to give out more tartness, somehow manage to keep the balance between the conflicts.

Afterwards, it doesn't change too much, a little bit more chocolate-y, and slowly fades away. The sillage is moderate and the longevity is at least 8 hours. Well, it fits in the recent trend of fruit+candy+patchouli, but it somehow manages to make its way out of the mass. Worths a try, but it still requires a sweet nose. In some stage it's very sweet, beware!
Jan 10, 2019

Flash by Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo Flash opens with a strange strawberry scent, not the real juicy one, nor the strawberry flavour one, very difficult to define. I was initially curious if the strawberry will play along with the white flowers. However, this fruity opening soon dissipates and leaves no trace on the then-coming strong white flower scent, which is quite similar to Jesus Del Pozo In White to my nose.

This white flower blossom stage lasts about 2 or 3 hours. It then dries down into a gentle floral-musky scent, very soothing and feminine, which is also my favourite part in Flash.

The sillage is moderate and the longevity is at least 8 hours. However, I don't think I'll buy it any time soon as the white flower stage is just too similar to In White, though the drydown is lovely.
Jan 10, 2019

White Musk by Body Shop

This review is based on Perfume Oil concentration. When I tried the three concentration in store, the EDT and EDP turned out both to be harsh. But the PO concentration is another story.

Overall the perfume oil of White Musk doesn't change much. Upon application, it's a rich and fluffy musky scent decorated by various floral notes. The combination actually makes me think of some rice-themed fragrances. The floral notes are smooth and well blended. I could only identify the slightly smoky lily.

I wouldn't define White Musk as clean, as it has some earthy and dank characteristics while evolving, but more like a wet forest floor and far from being animalic. Towards the end, it becomes a little sweeter, as if amber and vanilla finally reveal themselves, but still remains a comforting skin scent.

The sillage of perfume oil is very close to skin, but at the same time stays solidly for almost 12 hours. It's a scent that I'd really associate with a cashmere puller due to its fluffy and comforting feeling and it will fit numerous occasions almost all year round except for hot summer days IMO. I highly recommend the perfume oil concentration for its high quality and affordable price.
Jan 10, 2019

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