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Benjoin 19 by Le Labo

Pretty vanilla top notes that quickly burn off to reveal transparent resins. It’s a pleasant nimbus of fragrance and that’s the best I can say. If I had to compare it to something in my wardrobe I’d say a watercolor or pencil sketch interpretation of SHL Taklamakan. By now I’ve tried a few of the city exclusives, is there more to them than pleasant light scents? They seem quite expensive for the lack of brand history or other notable quality aside from the amount of human labor to staff stores.
Oct 6, 2021


Gaiac 10 by Le Labo

How odd. I must not be able to smell the musk or other fabulous notes so many reviewers wax poetic about. I get straight liquid mesquite smoke, the kind used for cooking pork roasts. I get not an iota of Japanese-ness from this and I have no idea what this is supposed to represent about Tokyo. Been there, have a lot of family there, don’t connect any dots between Gaiac 10 and Tokyo.
Oct 6, 2021


Tuberosa by Profumum

No house wants the sort of review I’m about to write. To soften the blow slightly I will gladly nod towards the other glowing reviews of Tuberosa because clearly I’m in the minority. I’m a decisive buyer who certainly does not shrink from a blind buy when my parameters (emphasis my parameters) are met. Profumum Roma is one house I have always approached with caution. Is it the dizzying array of offerings? Is it the price point? The note pyramids? The outcome is the same: Profumum merits a measured approach through sampling.

I love Santalum, but I am beginning to believe it is only Santalum I like from Profumum, a one off if you will. The same goes for Les Indémodables Cuir de Chine where the rest of the line holds no interest for me.

Tuberosa is a heady white floral that is quite powerful in projection and longevity. It announces itself with every inhalation so any fan will need to have a large commitment for the length of the ride and whether or not you care if anyone else around you is dragged along. Unlike the other reviews, I sadly fall into the nauseated column. I unfortunately experience Tuberosa as a fell combination of cinnamon red hots, potpourri, and a white floral bathroom cleaner. This is perhaps the polar opposite of the clean hothouse Carnal Flower or modest sweet cream of Love Tuberose. Tuberosa is, at least for me, cloyingly sweet with an unrelenting strength.

I suspect the rest of the Profumum samples generously provided with my Santalum order will be similarly sweet so, much like the classics I gave up on reviewing because I know they are not for me, I don’t think dunking on every Profumum that is not Santalum would be productive. What I will close with is underscoring a prudent approach to the Profumum Roma lineup is thorough sampling.
Sep 22, 2021


Wood Sage & Sea Salt by Jo Malone London

Fills the air with crisp linen not unlike a freshly ironed cotton shirt. Like most Jo Malone I have tried I vastly prefer Wood Sage as a room scent. I quickly abandoned spraying on myself in favor of bedding. This is a strong contender for room diffuser purchase. Pretty straightforward with zero surprises.
Sep 10, 2021


Myrrh & Tonka by Jo Malone London

Awful to wear. Smells like insecticide in the early to mid at really close range, a phase that seems to last quite a while. Completely different experience spraying on fabrics where I catch it about 1-2 feet away then it smells very inviting for those that can wear this better than I can (and that will be most of you). I am currently enjoying my miniature as a room scent. Good linear long lasting mid, inviting. At a distance.
Sep 10, 2021


Armani Privé Orangerie Venise by Giorgio Armani

A beautiful, breezy quiet performer featuring a slightly spiced bitter citrus that calls to mind candied rind. More of a sundress in spring in the city than languid countryside fragrant with sunbleached grasses and fruits. landshark mentions the pricepoint and I will do my best to help drive down that cost. Armani Beauty provides 15% off sitewide codes that do not exclude Privé. They are rare, but when they coincide with a promotional offer from your financial institution and free ship it can knock about 30% from sticker. Orangerie Venise is extremely refreshing but not at all bold. A low-resolution shorthand descriptor might be orange spiced herbal tea, and that can easily translate to well done but not groundbreaking.
Sep 10, 2021


Private Collection by Estée Lauder

Thumbs up from a timid sprayer who never gets along with classics. I do enjoy this for all the well written prior reviews spell out in thoughtful detail. But oh my is this a big fragrance. I spent many of my summers near Montréal and some of the most indelible memories are playing croquet over freshly mown grass. After the heat from playing outdoors any number of Quebecois Frenglish speaking aunts served cold drinks for the kids to refresh for another few hours of running wild until sundown. Easy to love. Tough to wear. Salute to those who can pull this off.
Sep 10, 2021


Shooting Stars : La Capitale by Xerjoff

Not my favorite to wear. Given its nuclear strength, La Capitale is a raging sweetstorm brought back from the brink by savories. The balance on me (female) swings too hard towards the attention-getting end of the spectrum. My husband immediately noticed La Capitale when I tested it calling it a “whole invitation” and noting my side of the bed smelled “enticing.” So, I’m guessing this could garner compliments. I like to be incognito for the most part just fade into the background invisible making La Capitale a wear-at-home-only choice. And even then I prefer Stephane Humber Lucas’ Ilham which is a bit richer but also a bit lighter. Byron Parfums Mula Mula might be a more masculine alternative in production for those who are concerned about such perceptions.
Sep 3, 2021


Pierre de Velay No.56 by Roja Dove

Pierre de Velay 56 was part of a sample set I selected as my bonus gift with purchase from RDHP. I think it’s no longer customizable at checkout, but at the time I was rushed so I crossed my fingers, picked ones that were categorized as feminine, and hoped for the best. I sort of forgot about 56 because I was more excited to try 1, 9, and Essence Rare.

These Pierre de Velay are my sleeping scents to help fend off mindracing at night when I can’t shut off from studying, analyzing finances, or generally anything that isn’t going to be addressed after 9 pm when it’s time to put a period at the end of the day. 56 was my ignored vial, one I had not bothered to pyramid-review before trying on. My first thought after spraying was, “Oud? Is that you? What are you doing here?” It’s a nice fizzy fermented hops smell that is familiar, comforting, and a little fleeting as the top note with nice supporting florals, the most prominent of them lavender that segues into the listed rose, violet, geranium, and ylang. I can’t say much about the base other than it is really smooth and really Roja.

Pierre de Velay 56 isn’t going to win over anyone new who doesn’t already plug into Roja’s schtick. It is, however, the dark horse that pulled out ahead of the highly-anticipated 1, 9, and Essence Rare. Glad I selected it at the last moment. Like many (arguably all) Roja, I’m not sure this is so distinct that I must have 100 ml when I have so many others to use first that are quite similar in the base.
Aug 12, 2021


Chypré Extraordinaire by Roja Dove

Too corporatized like the new tourist playland version of Times Square. My expectations were not high and this fragrance meets expectations. In the interest of transparency and context, I have an official atomiser purchased from an authorized retailer that I was able to get with a generous promotion. Sometimes I like to try the superlatives to see how much shine-on bluster is going on. Chypre Extraordinaire is a nicely done soulless VIP Jedi mind trick. I’ll enjoy wearing every drop of the 7.5 ml inwardly subtracting the “extra” from extraordinaire.
Aug 12, 2021


Musk Therapy by Initio

Initio and PdM aren’t high interest houses for me. There’s just something about them coming on too strong as if their motto is no such thing as too much. Like a drunk guy at a party lunging at you, they can be an ungainly turn-off of sloppy force. Musk Therapy is strong yet in some way I appreciate its commitment to absolute white musk tinged with mandarin. Given my hesitance with PdM and Initio, it would be fair to say I was relieved there were no surprises. I was able to sample 8 ml for around $30 to see what it was about. For that size:price it’s decent and straightforward but not FBW for me. Musk Therapy is predictable, which could read as “reliably delivers” for people favorably disposed towards an unrelenting white musk.
Aug 12, 2021


Shooting Stars : Amber Star by Xerjoff

Amber Star is sold as one half of a duo-pack ranging from $630 from discounters to around $800 at boutiques. That’s quite the acquisition hurdle forcing an otherwise interested buyer to accept Amber Star’s lesser fraternal twin Star Musk. Don’t play that stupid game. Get a sample spray vial of Amber Star from eBay for $10. I did, and my opinion after all the silly extra steps Xerjoff requires should merit Amber Star about 100 thumbs down. There are so many equal or better woodsy vanilla ambers widely available at a lower price. Yet, it’s not horrible so we arrive at neutral. Amber Star is a 5 that thinks it’s a 10 by being extra demanding. Basic.
Aug 7, 2021


Petra by Masque

Cheers to the gentleman Basenoter for this complimentary sample.

Petra is a themed fragrance, and for that reason I’d like to direct interested parties to the unique note listed of Luquaimat accord. Many of the reviews I read prior ranged from confused to slight intrigue or concern due to the lack of context. I’ll do my tour guide best to ease that fear: it’s a doughnut. Not just any doughnut of course, but the sort of ancestral food (as many are) related to special occasions. I don’t celebrate Ramadan, but East Asians do have a very similar dessert of deep fried sesame doughnut ever so slightly sweetened. For those who are familiar with dim sum you have undoubtedly smelled this on a dessert cart before.

Why does the ad copy sound so weird? Can’t help there, the word salad has no decipherable meaning. The sesame dessert theme reminds me of middle to upper class grindset in Asian metro areas with power shopping by new and old money during holidays. A few years ago I ran across a statement that Dubai is the new Hong Kong, this seems to be in keeping with a shift in retail attention.

3/5 Petra is not bad. My spouse is quite keen on this. Not unexpectedly, deep fried sesame doughnut is one of his all-time favorite desserts. Probably less so if the nose isn’t able to connect this dry gourmand to the reference dessert accord. Slight like, not love. Appreciate the opportunity to try it.
Jul 17, 2021


Pierre de Velay No.23 by Roja Dove

I have a difficult time imagining a person committing to 100 ml of this fragrance. PdV 23 is, to me, a perfumer’s interpretation of Eau de Dog Kennel. An expensive dog kennel perhaps where the dog groomers use very fine floral and woodsy inflected surfactants or deodorants designed to ‘disguise’ the animal dander, saliva, and general dogginess. Weirdest of all, this fragrance is not horrid. I would never pay for it or maybe never try my complimentary sample ever again, but I might not even notice if someone else was wearing it. From a distance I may get no more than some decent florals with wood and animalics. Thumbs down on me, neutral on everyone else. Thumbs way up for anyone who would want to LARP Grey Gardens. Look no further for the perfect Edith juice.
Jul 16, 2021


Ouverture by Sospiro

Review from an official sample spray included with my Xerjoff order. Ouverture is a too sweet take on the most recent incarnation of Samsara EDP. Much like Xerjoff’s Ceylon, Ouverture lays it on too thick for my tastes. Still, I think this would be smell great on someone else in passing. Hours alone without pause? No.
Jul 14, 2021


En Passant by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Not bad. It’s more of personal comfort if that comfort is related to hothouse flowers or a large Victorian garden. The opening has a disturbing fanfare of baby powder that almost scared me, so that paired with performance would have me side with Carnal Flower over En Passant if clean floral was my thing.
Jul 14, 2021


Dear Polly by Vilhelm Parfumerie

A wonderful Western style tea very true to Ceylon served black with only a hint of sweetness. Intricate, with a disciplined hand on the supporting notes that never threaten to eclipse the gorgeous dark fermented tea. Where Xerjoff went wrong with its version named Ceylon by overworking honey turned up to full tilt, Dear Polly is a soft true Ceylon. One of the few perfumes I find lives up the the claim “sensuous.”
Jul 5, 2021


Burberry Body by Burberry

Discharged two rounds of 2 ml one right after the other. Five minutes of light, airy fresh mist then nothing. Let’s consider that I am a habitual meek undersprayer by nature so two vials of juice is near mouth-frothing barbarism. Maybe it smelled nice? It was over before it started but looking at the others I’m assuming it’s normally quite wearable. No harm no foul for free samples.
Jul 5, 2021


Oud Assam by Abdul Karim Al Faransi

Ah, infamous cola note at long last we meet. Although I’m not really getting woods, more reminiscent of a root beer or lime cola soda base concentrate, it’s a pleasing scent. For those that have tried Rania J’s Oud Assam wondering if there is any similarity — absolutely not. Marmin/AlFaransi Oud Assam is quite mild by nearly any standard and well within the bounds to wear around unsuspecting members of the now maskless public.
Jul 3, 2021


Armani Privé Cuir Majesté by Giorgio Armani

Praise be to the gentlemen Basenoter who allowed me to sample this magnificent osmanthus oud from his personal collection. I have no idea how or where I will acquire more Cuir Majesté, but if I do I intend to pay the favor back twofold.

Armani Privé Cuir Majesté takes all I love of osmanthus and oud delivering a delicious metropolitan sophistication that would satisfy a wide variety of global urbanites. If Osmanthe Yunnan wore sleek designer clothing for a night of cocktails in an upscale Hong Kong bar with all its graduate school friends that would be Armani Privé Cuir Majesté. Divine.
Jul 3, 2021


Carnal Flower by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Stunning for what it is. Carnal Flower is a humid hothouse immersion of tuberose with airy touch of ripe melon. It doesn’t really reach its full potential in the temperate rain forest climate I live in now, but if I were packing my bags for spring or summer in Oceania a travel spray of Carnal Flower would be going with me.
Jun 20, 2021


Eau de Magnolia by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Crystallized ginger-like zest in the opening shifting to sharp, grassy florals and light musk. It’s short of squeaky clean for whoever that opinion might help.
Jun 20, 2021


Musc Ravageur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

This review is an admitted unorthodox take on MR by sampling only after the Desert Gems collection and L’Erbolario Méharées. Whereas I believe MR was a stand out profile in spice and desert theme prior, at the time of this review Night and Dawn are widely available as splits and decants, and Méharées is in solid production. I would imagine it’s not possible the order in which I have tried these fragrances has not skewed my appraisal downward. Musc Ravageur’s hyped muskiness is quite tame in comparison to the Night’s opening onslaught. While they are two completely different fragrance profiles, the notorious musk I heard so much about was anticlimactic, “Oh, is that all?” And what is Musc Ravageur after its opening? Méharées gingerbread snickerdoodle at many times the price. Good, but possibly a victim of its own success by having a worthy affordable understudy and outcompeted by new modern siblings given center stage.
Jun 20, 2021


Fan Your Flames by Nishane

The smell of steamed bamboo leaves. Come over for dinner and I’ll prove it.
Jun 14, 2021

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