GimmeGreen's "lipstick perfume done right" is right on point, as everything before and after (or is it above and below?) seems intended to support the lipstick-y iris in the heart. It's a warm irisa neat trick with the notoriously cool, rooty floral. Quite lovely, and my iris-loving wife gave it a thumbs up, as do I.
The fragrance that triggered my interest in Eau d'Italie was Bois d'Ombrie. A number of BN reviewers I respect sing its praises, and it seems my sort of thing categorically: leather, tobacco, vetiver, woods, iris, spiceswhat's not to like?
Alas, I have a problem with BdO noted by its detractors: specifically, the bitter, vinegary vegetal note simply doesn't click for me. It's too bad, because it seems as if someone dumped a bottle of vinegar into a brew I would otherwise have loved. But then, perhaps that divisive note is the point. After all, the rest of the profile is fairly common amongst masculines of a certain era. So, I wave to those across the divide who enjoy this, but I'll be staying on the other side, happily without a bottle of Bois d'Ombrie.
Opens as a light, spicy rose, very pleasant. The incense and woods show up later, but don't change the fundamental nature of the scent. This is an easy wear, airy and neither too sweet nor too dry. I could ask for more in the way of performance, but that might undermine its charms. I haven't decided if I need a bottle, but I'm at least thinking about it.
The consensus on this seems to be that the drydown is a letdown after the more distinctive opening; an opening that gets mixed reviews. The spices and vanilla with a touch of cedar say woody oriental while the orange says gourmand, with the net effect being something like a creamsicle melting in your spice cabinet. Really, it all smells delicious, but at the same time all that sweetness seems a bit too desperate to be liked.
The mint (or mint-like) note becomes more prominent as the orange and most of the spice recedes. The vanilla and some unassuming wood remains. It doesn't quite turn to toothpaste, but yeah, the drydown is a letdown. Not that I wanted more spicy creamsicle, but it was at least an idea, whereas this is barely an afterthought.
Ultimately, the drydown morphs back into woody oriental territorysort of like a vanilla-flavored toothpick. Which is better than it sounds, but not enough better.
Whatever else one could say about Sienne lHiver, you cant fault it for lacking a concept. This is as valid an expression of winter in a bottle as one is ever likely to get. How you feel about that is something else.
I find SH engaging, even fascinating, on an intellectual level. Im still working out how that translates to my desire to wear it. The main issue I have is a note others have flagged as olive, though no such note is in the pyramid. While not the all-out vinegar assault of Bois dOmbrie, it still keeps me at an emotional arms distance, more so than the olfactory coolness achieved without camphor or conifer. I probably wont shell out for a bottle, but I might return to the sample the next time I get nostalgic about snow. So, a conditional thumbs up.
Iceberg Universe Femme snuck into my home as a freebie accompanying something I bought. I had no great expectations, particularly as the package design (from a designer label!) is utterly clueless. The fragrance is, in fact, a perfectly nice peachy vanillic floral. If not a masterpiece by a wide margin, neither is it so dire as the afterthought packaging suggests. Rather generic, yes, but in a casually appealing way, in the manner of a tasteful feminine skin lotion. In a field rife with fragrances that attempt more to lesser effect, thats not such a bad thing.
Im with those who perceive this as a dry, woody (more than oudy) tobacco scent. Grapey violets are there close to the skin, but not in the sillageat least, not on melending a bit of pipe-tobacco sweetness to whats otherwise more of an unsmoked cigarette vibe. Im liking it off the bat, and at the price this is going for, a FB might just be a no-brainer.
Fragrantica member Tamlin describes Ambar del Sur as, "a spicy amber scent that almost reminds me of a salty broth seasoned with dry herbs. There's something a little bit weird about it...something that's almost a bit sour and funky." That comes close to my experience, though on top of a garden variety sweet vanilla and tonka. I think the salty/weird/sour/funky aspect is a bergamot-glazed synthetic ambergris with some attempt to make it more realistic than the usual ambroxan bomb. Combined with the "amber accord" in the heart and the vanilla/tonka base, you've got amber and ambergris together for a sort of oceanic oriental, though arguably not as interesting as that might sound.
I'm not fond of either aquatics or vanillic ambers, so this isn't my thing. I had hopes that the sandalwood, cistus, and myrrh would outweigh the vanilla and tonka, but not to my nose. I'm also not having any of the performance/longevity issues some wearers report, more's the pity.
If you like modernist ambers, this might work well for you. My sample will go in the "out" box
A good woody violet leaf fragrance, unisex in practice if not in labeling, for those wanting something more demure and modern than Grey Flannel. For my money, Olivier Polge does better here than at Chanel. Even if a tad faceless, Paris LEssence is still streets ahead of the last few designer frags I sampled in both character and competenceso of course, this one is discontinued. Not FB-worthy for me, but definitely for someone.
The house and the name enticed me to try this, though the reviews filled me with dread.
Well, its not dreadful in that it smells offensive, but rather in that it smells cheap and unimaginativenot the image youd think VC&A would go for. A textbook fruitchouli, with all the artistry and excitement one usually finds in a textbook. Next.
Baiser Volé promises to be a pure floral, whatever that means in todays designer parlance. Most unfortunately, the flower it promises is lilyand not muguet.
To be fair, this did a pretty good job of establishing a realistic floral vibe, at least until the drydown morphed into a mild woody aromachemical thing. Had it been a flower I liked, Id no doubt have joined the choir of fans. Alas, as a hater of lilies, I found this more like Baiser Vile. But thats a matter of taste, not poor execution. If lilies work for you, likely so will this.
The opening is somewhat cacophonous, which might be a commentary on jazz. Celery, coconut, rancid movie-theater popcorn butterwhatever it is, it adds a sourness that fights with the other notes for the first 20 minutes or so. After that, it settles down into a woody vanilla tobacco that's at once more comfortable and less interesting. The longer it dries down, the more of a respectable vanilla pipe tobacco it becomes and I prefer that aspect of Jazz Club to Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille. Not so much that the opening is worth suffering through, though.
Although the peppercorn smell is here, theres nothing terribly fiery. Instead, its a variation on blue fragrances: that sort of dry, ozonic grapefruit top note (they say tangerine, but the pepper and elemi emphasize the acidic aspect of the citrus rather than the sweet, which is in any case fleeting), and the nutmeg and ginger in the heartno doubt accompanied by Iso E Superacting more like pepper helper than establishing their own voices.
Supposedly, the heart also includes jasmine and rose, but these are some of the least assertive florals Ive encountered. The base has politely balanced patchouli and cedar, and oakmoss absolute thats likely trivial in a 2015 release and reformulated away by now (though still listed as an ingredient on the website).
Again, its nice without being all that remarkable. It has that slightly sweet metallic freshness common to its ilk. I like it a bit better than most of what Ive sniffed in the genre, which makes me curious about the differences in the EdP, including prominent osmanthus and the addition of musk. Not curious enough to buy a FB, though.
My wife had an instant and sustained favorable reaction. Nothing groundbreaking, but better than TF Neroli Portofino. If you prefer your EDCs bright and astringent, look elsewhere, but if you like a soapy/creamy profile, this should be right up your alley. I wouldnt pay retail, but FragranceNets price, as of this posting, of under $120 for 6 oz sounds right.
A light, modern eau de cologne with a properly tempered dose of ambroxan under the clean crisp citrus/lavender/laundry musk. Maybe not worth MFK prices, but if you want something simultaneously elegant and casual for easy daytime wear, this is spot on.
I was prepared for all sorts of madness after reading the reviews, but my takeaway is: Emperors New Fougère. Whatever else is allegedly in herevetiver, tobacco, lavenderits crushed under the heel of obnoxiously loud vanilla and musk. I understand the desire to be noticed, but for this? Pass.
Water Lily is the ostensibly feminine fragrance in this pair. Lily is not my favorite scent by a long shot, but I have a sample, so what the heck. Of course, a water lily is a different flower, but is CC really using water lily extrait?
The opening had that familiar suffocating lily scentthe particular aldehydes and green leaf, perhapsbut the drydown is more like carnation: spicy and slightly powdery. Might be the cashmere musk in part. Theres some orris and vetiver as advertised, but theyre bit players. Im not picking up any heliotrope at all, which suits me fine, as the last thing this needs is a marzipan glaze.
As I like carnation, Im fine with where its landed, but the opening isnt worth fighting through. Lily lovers might feel differently.
I appreciated how the lavender, vetiver, and herbs/spices create a papyrus effect leagues away from the magazine paper smell of the blue fragrances. Geranium adds a bit of floral sweetness to keep the papyrus from drying to dust and blowing away. I enjoyed it, and performance was perfectly adequate.
My wife, though, it was strictly meh. For a frag that retails at $550/50ml, thats an underwhelming response I cant overcomenot even when discounted by half.