Scent by Costume National

Scent is a basic name, and basic is what this composition is. However, despite its simplicity, it's pretty, interesting and likable. Scent is a fragrance that could easily appeal to anyone.

I find it a toned down, more floral version of Agent Provocateur's Strip. The jasmine and frangipani blooms are soft and slightly creamy, which are further complimented by rich notes of tea and amber. There's perhaps other spices also in this blend.

It has a beautiful sensuality, one that is almost unisex. I'd actually like to smell this on a man. There's a rich, ambery woodsiness about Scent which hints at masculinity. While Costume National Homme is the most masculine offering from the brand, I wouldn't dismiss Scent altogether as a fragrance for men also.

The opening of tea, jasmine and frangipani was quite aromatic to my nose. It had a lovely, soothing quality which I really enjoyed. As the fragrance progresses, the amber note becomes more prominent, before settling into a rich, ambery and powdery incense accord.

It's that smouldering sexiness which is conveyed through Scent that has gained this fragrance its fans. The longevity and the moderate to strong sillage has also won hearts. Scent may not be a modern classic and it may not be all that memorable, however this is one fragrance that manages to be quite captivating and a great success for the Costume National brand.

Scent Gloss by Costume National

Scent Gloss leaves me a little underwhelmed like Scent Sheer did. Everything else from this brand seems a little bit daring, even if a touch unisex, however Scent Gloss is very feminine; girly and 'pink'. A scent better suited to the younger crowd.

It's a delicate and inoffensive blend of pink rose, strawberry, orchid and white musk. The outcome is quite fresh and sweet, even if a little juvenile. It settles like a body spray, yet one that lasts.

The rose is very watered down in Scent Gloss, in fact all I managed to smell was the musk and the fruity nuances. It's a linear fragrance, one that doesn't develop all that well, and it's usually in these cases that I become irritated by perfume brands, 'playing it safe'.

Because it smells so innocent and feminine, I can see why someone would recommend this for weddings. It would suit a white and flowery atmosphere, like that of a childhood dream. Rainbows, lollipops and big, white fluffy dresses aren't really my thing, so I think I'll skip Scent Gloss.

Jicky Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

I expected something strange, so strange that I was prepared to be completely turned off. Jicky was so far from being repulsive, that it was actually quite humourous. In fact, Jicky for me is pure love.

This is a beautiful, smooth yet crisp lemon and herb blend. On my skin Jicky becomes rather spicy and bold, almost foody with a strange cinnamon and vanilla concoction that smells very much like cinnamon doughnuts.

Every now and then there's that distinguishable calamine lotion smell which is found in many Guerlain classics, which I adore by the way. It's strange, but in some ways I find Jicky more elegant than Shalimar and L'Heure Bleue.

I would recommend this fragrance for both sexes. I would not be able to keep my hands off a man wearing this. On my skin Jicky appears to be sweeter, more gourmand and oriental, however on a man's skin I do believe the leather and the lemon would create something very pleasing to a female nose.

Jicky is so complex that I am continuously amazed by this composition through the duration of the wearing, which is very long-lasting by the way. I am not astounded to realise that Jicky has been alive and kicking since 1889. It's one fragrance that deserves to last the next 500 years. I am yet to try the EDP, pure parfum and vintage versions of Jicky, however for the EDT alone, I am suitably impressed.

Costume National Homme Eau de Parfum by Costume National

Costume National Homme is rather divine. Something that I, a woman, could happily douse myself in.

When I first sprayed Costume National Homme I found it quite strong and nauseating. There was a little too much of everything all at once. It smelt like a thick, resinous forest with runny, liquified honey.

After this scent settles however the scent is intoxicating, in a good way. It's like a gourmand for men. Rich, syrupy, spicy and earthy. Full of sensuality and intrigue.

Costume National Homme seems to have a prominent tobacco note, which is further complimented by patchouli, herbs, cinnamon and vanilla. It's a masculine scent with a sweet and syrupy finish. In my opinion, Costume National Homme works well on both men and women alike.

I recommend this fragrance not only for its beautiful complexity and sexiness, but also for its undeniable lasting strength and strong sillage.

Burberry Brit for Men by Burberry

It was slightly difficult for me to collect my thoughts and form an opinion regarding Brit for Men, because the scent kind of left me slightly disappointed.

Burberry Brit for Men, seems to me, to be lacking in substance and character. I can barely smell it, apart from spontaneous wafts of powdery ginger and damp woods. Perhaps it is supposed to be subtle, and while I don't like anything too strong on a man, this is going way beyond subtlety.

Sporty, casual maybe, but nothing too outstanding. Pleasant enough but underwhelming in the sense that it doesn't evoke any kind of feelings in me. Honestly, this fragrance could suit a man that loathes fragrance.

The powderiness is not bothersome for me, as I don't find it feminine like some reviewers perceive Brit for Men to be. It's masculine but too faint. There's not enough power to make me love it.

I didn't pick up on a rose note at all, but I advise men to not be turned off by rose in a masculine composition. Rose, when done well, can smell amazing on a man, take Le Labo's Rose 31, for example.

Bel Ami by Hermès

Now this is the kind of masculine I like. The moment I put this on and inhaled deeply, I thought to myself, all men should smell like this.

A ruggedly masculine man makes my heart skip a beat and this is the essential fragrance for such a man. Rich, leathery and clean. Bel Ami is the scent of those 1950's Hollywood cowboys. It's a fierce fragrance, not for the shy.

You need to like leather in order to enjoy this fragrance. For some, the leather note may be too strong, however I find it fascinating. There's a hint of sweet incense mixed in there somewhere too, that gives this fragrance a rather luxurious feel.

The heart is mostly leather, pepper, herbs and earthy patchouli. This combination is strangely clean yet a tad dirty. Bel Ami has an almost dizzying effect on my senses. To be honest, I'd much rather smell this on a man than on myself. The mystifying masculinity of Bel Ami goes to waste on my feminine skin.

The longevity of Bel Ami is very impressive, as is the sillage which will leave the air around you beautifully scented for all to enjoy. A true classic in my opinion. A fragrance that separates the men from the boys.

Rose Splendide by Annick Goutal

I was a little dubious about Rose Splendide at first. I was wondering how Annick Goutal was going to manage another rose scent when it was already competing with Ce Soir Ou Jamais, Rose Absolue and Quel Amour! Rose Splendide has proven itself a different composition altogether, and one that I am happy to own a sample of.

Rose Splendide is in two words, fresh and green. The scent opens very garden-like, rather like the scent of a rose bush rather than the flower. There's even a slight hint of the soil, creating a strangely addictive naturalness. This seems to be a new trend with Annick Goutal, since their other 2010 release, Ninfeo Mio has a similar garden-like feel.

This fragrance is original and very unique. I have honestly never smelt a rose fragrance like this. It takes a lot of getting used to, but after some time, Rose Splendide begins to grow on you.

Towards the heart, the pear is clearly noticeable, however it is more tart than sweet and fruity. It's like pureed pears and crushed red rose petals. As the scent settles, there's a subtle hint of sweet musk and powder.

This is obviously a fragrance that defies the stereotypical rose perfume. It aims towards something breath-takingly beautiful and natural, like something you'd find in the wilderness, not bottled up with added synthetics and alcohol. I am amazed that Annick Goutal has gone in this direction, leaving behind its signature, old-fashioned vibe.

Rose Splendide's delicate, Spring-like vivaciousness is rather adorable as it sets itself apart from the fruitier rose in Quel Amour! The lasting power is rather good, however I am reviewing the EDP. This new release is worthy of a sniff from all rose lovers alike.

Panthère de Cartier by Cartier

Whenever I smell Panthere de Cartier, I think chandeliers, red velvet sofas, expensive champagne and exquisite evening gowns. This fragrance seems to be the perfect example of class and distinction.

While the opening of Panthere is rather alchoholic, what dries on the skin is absolutely beautiful. This fragrance is the perfect blend of rich florals, exotic spices and bright, cheerful citrus, which gives this fragrance a golden-like feel.

It's a very confident fragrance. Bold, rich and reminiscent of those typical powerhouse 80's fragrances. Panthere is a little similar to Boucheron, Annick Goutal's Passion and Dior's Poison. On the skin, Panthere is incredibly elegant and feminine, however it's not a fragrance for young girls.

I love these kinds of strong scents, however whenever I wear them colleagues of mine, who are less understanding of perfume, will comment that I smell old, half wondering why I don't wish to smell of Paris Hilton and the likes. Well, if Panthere is what old smells like, then I'm eagerly awaiting my 50th birthday.

Despite this fragrance's complexity, Panthere has quite dominant hints of lemon, pepper, ginger, carnation, gardenia, ylang ylang, patchouli, vanilla and incense. In terms of the hard-to-come-by EDP, the lasting power is incredible and its projection equally as impressive.

I do not hestitate to refer to Panthere as a classic, one that has stood the test of time alonsgide Chanel, Dior and Guerlain. Cartier is a house that I greatly respect and one that has released many exquisite and lovable fragrances.

Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel

Oh, how delicious! Egoiste you are divine. Why this fragrance is not sold in Australian stores is something I am still questioning.

At first spray, I could have sworn I smelt raisin toast smothered in butter and jam. Egoiste opened rather gourmand-like, spicy and sweet. The raisin bread smell stuck around for awhile, however the spices became much more prominent and bold.

Egoiste has quite a mesmerizing spiced fruit smell, further highlighted by a rich, Bulgarian rose note. On my skin this fragrance doesn't smell masculine at all, in fact it could pass as a feminine fragrance quite easily. Its somewhat fascinating sugary-ness is really captivating on my skin and I can see myself wearing this alot during Winter and Autumn.

I find this fragrance quite sexy and wild. I like that no inhibitions, 'take me as I am' attitude that this fragrance so cleverly conveys. Egoiste has this beautiful warmth created by the spices, (in particular the cinnamon), counteracting with the rose, vanilla and dried fruits.

The sillage and lasting power are the final touches which seal the deal on this outstanding fragrance. Chanel's masculine offerings, are in one word, masterpieces.

Fancy Love by Jessica Simpson

I was initially disappointed with Fancy, Jessica Simpson's first international fragrance release, because although it was pleasant, I found it far too similar to Britney Spears Fantasy and Aquolina's Pink Sugar. Fancy Love on the otherhand is truly delightful and different. A fragrance that I'm enjoying wearing.

Fancy Love opens with delicate notes of peach blossom and jasmine, highlighted by a rich, aromatic glass of sparkling champagne. I love this somewhat alcoholic opening, however for those not familiar with the aroma of champagne, they may find themselves a little sickened by the smell.

Towards the heart, Fancy Love is quite creamy and lush. It's like an almost edible blend of floral accords and whipped cream without the sugar. This fragrance is lovely in all kinds of weather, however it suits Spring and Autumn the best.

On cool skin, Fancy Love is mostly floral and creamy, however on warm skin, a deliciously fizzy peach and frangipani blend comes to the fore. On my skin, unfortunately Fancy Love is quite linear, however when I breathe hot air onto my wrist, the scent shows signs of complexity.

The longevity is fantastic, really surprising when you consider how inexpensive this fragrance is. I'm really liking Fancy Love, and while I will use up the rest of the sample, it will take time to decide whether it's full bottle worthy.

Insolence Eau Glacée by Guerlain

Insolence Eau Glacee is nothing like its predecessor Insolence EDT, at least in my opinion. While I do love the smell of violets, the original had absolutely slaughtered the beautiful flower, turning it into a candied mess which had me saying "Why Guerlain, why?" Insolence Eau Glacee thankfully has not made the same mistake.

Insolence Eau Glacee opens with a rather aquatic burst, being a little similar to that of L'eau par Kenzo. It is initially very watery and fresh. As it settles, the violet emerges in all its soft prettiness with some additional crispness from the apple note.

I'll agree that this fragrance has an icy feel. It is particularly refreshing when worn in the Summer humidity which I am now experiencing as we speak. I'm surprised that this fragrance release never managed to reach our shores and I feel as if we're missing out on a lot of Insolence flankers for some unbeknownst reason.

Towards the heart, Insolence Eau Glacee takes on a rather clean and soothing, subtle, powdery violet scent, which is the only similarity between the original and this version that I have managed to detect. I guess in some ways it seems like a more diluted version, with less sugar and more violet.

The fresh airyness of Insolence Eau Glacee, is in my opinion, delightful and inoffensive. It's feminine and simplistic, however it's not a fragrance for everyone as unfortunately this fragrance does tend to turn sour on my skin.

The drydown happened to be a very pleasing musky violet and the lasting power wasn't actually that bad, at least five hours. I would like to thank Guusje for being so loving and generous as to send me a sample of this hard-to-find fragrance.

Ice*Men by Thierry Mugler

Ice*Men is surprisingly Thierry Mugler's most masculine offering, having barely any similarities in reagrds to the rich, chocolatey A*Men and the spicy caramel B*Men. In fact, Ice*Men has taken a big leap away from the gourmands, and has established itself as quite a fresh aromatic fragrance.

All Thierry Mugler creations usually suit my skin type, however Ice*Men is something I'll be saving for a male friend of mine. This fragrance is masculine, far too masculine for me to get away with wearing it. It actually reminds me very much of one of my favourite masculine fragrances, the classic Davidoff's Cool Water.

There is no doubt Ice*Men is refreshing, however I can't say that I find it particularly icy or cool. It feels like your typical, masculine aquatic; watery, crisp, an essential Summer scent. When I smell Ice*Men I think of a day on the beach, not a refrigerator or an ice cold drink.

The sillage wasn't as light as I expected it to be either, and it proved to be just as lasting and strong as other Thierry Mugler creations. I personally prefer the unisex Mugler Cologne for refreshing spritzes during the hot weather, however I can definitely see this fragrance working well on a man's skin.

Max Mara by Max Mara

For some unbeknownst reason, testing Max Mara was something I had been looking forward to. I didn't know much about it, I barely know the brand and to be honest, nothing about the notes appealed to me, yet I felt a good testing of this fragrance was essential.

When it came down to it, Max Mara was pleasant but nothing overly exciting. It's a simplistic spicy floral with hints of sparkling citrus throughout. I had an image of elegance in my mind prior to testing Max Mara, and while it could indeed be worn formally, it's also rather casual and basic in its approach.

The heart was unfortunately quite nauseating for me as it took on an odd bitterness, which only smelt cheap and plasticky to my nose. The floral notes didn't shine like I thought they would, instead they were quite loud and brash. I was a little shocked that Max Mara could smell so synthetic and strange. I still haven't managed to come to terms with its disappointing composition.

Thankfully the drydown is really pretty. An almost gourmand-like blend of sugar and orchid, a blend that also worked well in Britney Spears Fantasy. For Max Mara to end with a somewhat syrupy sweet drydown didn't seem so befitting with its mature and spicy floral opening.

I found the sillage to be moderate and the lasting power rather commendable, however I'm not ready to recommend this fragrance to anyone anytime soon. Max Mara's Le Parfum, despite its basic and clean soapy accords, is Max Mara's best fragrance so far, at least in my opinion.

Fancy Nights by Jessica Simpson

Fancy Nights by Jessica Simpson is a real, big surprise. I'm a fan of patchouli and I adore its scent, however I hadn't managed to find a well-done patchouli fragrance that wasn't niche or from an upscale, commercialised brand, until now.

This particular fragrance has everything I love; a rich oriental feel, green earthiness and great intensity. Le Labo's Patchouli 24 is my favourite patchouli fragrance so far, and believe it or not, Fancy Nights reminds me of it. In truth, Fancy Nights is obviously softer and more feminine, however the distinguishable similarities are there.

The opening top notes are quite rich and bold. Definitely a night fragrance or one you would wear in Winter. First off, I noticed that it smelt a little bit like Prada, yet it was a touch sweeter and minus the amber.

Towards the heart, Fancy Nights takes a strange turn and becomes increasingly powdery. It created that softness that I often desire when my hard-hitting patchouli fragrances become too much. I like this powdery aspect and it think it works well. It's also likely to attract buyers that aren't usually ones to like heavy orientals or patchouli-based scents.

The longevity is rather rewarding and the sillage is moderately strong. I'm rather grateful that Jessica Simpson has released this fragrance seeming that it is a rather risky choice. I'm seriously considering buying this fragrance for the up-coming Winter months.

J'Adore L'Or by Christian Dior

I'm not sure what made me test this fragrance, seeming that I'm not a fan of the original, however since having experienced this fragrance on the skin, J'Adore L'Or (or Essence de Parfum), is hardly anything like the original, and therefore far more pleasing to my nose.

This fragrance is quite a rich, syrupy white floral. It is golden and bold in its nature, and it seems to be far more elegant than the EDP version of J'Adore, at least in my opinion. It focuses primarily upon jasmine and rose, distilled directly from Dior's fields in Grasse. This fragrance isn't however your typical, soft white floral, because it is in fact quite complex and strong.

Smelling this fragrance actually reminds me of those big, loud and classic fragrances of the 70's and 80's. The richness is rather shocking and sensual at the same time. The fruity nuances usually found in J'Adore are missing in this particular composition, and in its place are thick and heady vanilla notes and resinous amber.

J'Adore L'Or of course demands your attention as a powerful scent and one that speaks of sophistication and elegance. Apparently it is an exclusive fragrance, yet I have managed to find it in quite a few small stores in my area.

The lasting strength is very impressive, however this is a fragrance that relies upon skin chemistry to work. Unfortunately towards the heart, J'Adore L'Or turned sour and rather chemical on my skin which was a huge let-down.

All in all, this fragrance doesn't feel like a flanker to me. I think it deserves another name entirely because I doubt that J'Adore lovers will appreciate this new release.

L.A. Glow by J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez

I'm getting rather tired of seeing so many different Glow bottles these days, as I often crave a new celebrity release that isn't a never-ending continuation of flanker after flanker. L.A. Glow was something I didn't expect to like, however I find it pleasing to say the least. A fruity floral that tends to be quite well done.

The fruits in L.A. Glow are quite rich and dark. A scent that reminds me of Escada's Moon Sparkle. It has a very intense yet sweet blend of berries and plum, that for some reason makes me think that it's best worn as a night-time fragrance.

Although very sweet and jam-like, L.A. Glow is not distasteful. I'll admit that I've grown out of scents such as this, but I must say I was quite captivated by the way it smelt. It wasn't anywhere near as cheap as I thought it would smell, and it's actually quite sexy.

L.A. Glow in my opinion, is essentially designed to be worn in a nightclub and partying atmosphere. It doesn't strike me as being anything too casual or too subtle. It will most likely appeal to young women for that exact purpose.

Jennifer Lopez fragrances tend to have their ups and downs. Because this fragrance wasn't promoted as much as her previous scents were, I was a little dubious. But despite the lack of promotion I do think this fragrance will sell extremely well.

Pretty Hot by Elizabeth Arden

Pretty Hot, is the so-called sexier flanker originating from Pretty, a flowery, yet forgettable fragrance released in 2009.

Pretty Hot, is not that hot. While Pretty was a sweet, Spring-like floral, this fragrance is a little richer, spicier and better suited to colder weather, but it's no 'naughty' scent, at least in my opinion.

I wore this over the weekend, and on my skin it smelt rather fruity and potent. The blood orange and the apple notes tend to really stand out. I had a few compliments, yet I felt it was a tad too safe and girlish for me.

The peony, without fail, is always a bold floral note in every composition I've tried with this ingredient. In Pretty Hot peony features quite strongly, with subtle hints of pepper and patchouli, which attempt to make this fragrance more grounded and dark.

I wasn't expecting much, so I'm not bitterly disappointed in Pretty Hot. I didn't even know it was released until I walked past the Elizabeth Arden counter. I think, like Pretty, this fragrance will appeal to the younger market. Women will wear this if they enjoy it, however I doubt that it will succeed in making a full grown woman feel sexy. There are so many other sexier scents out there.

Rumeur 2 Rose by Lanvin

Rumeur 2 Rose is an interesting fragrance in the sense that it's not entirely rose, but a rich blend of fruits and flowers.

I think I initially expected something quite sweet, rosy and fruity, but Rumeur 2 Rose is not so predictable. The opening is actually quite bitter and sharp, what seems to be lemon, bitter orange and pink rose counteracting with one another.

It does settle after awhile, however the fruitiness remains. I can detect an array of floral notes at times, but during most of its development, Rumeur 2 Rose is all about luscious roses and zesty citrus.

I'm not a huge fan of this fragrance because I think it smells very much like an expensive shampoo or shower gel. I do actually own this fragrance in the shower gel because I found it cheap and I knew I would enjoy using it along with other rose-scented bath products. As a perfume though, I'm not convinced.

I don't find this fragrance particularly refreshing, yet I do enjoy its unique take on a common rose note. It reminds me of Spring and I think it can also be worn by anyone of any age. The drydown is quite musky with subtle hints of earthy patchouli, which is thankfully not overpowering in the base.

The lasting power is not bad, lasting well over six hours. I think Rumeur 2 Rose is a fruity rose scent with a lot of character.

A Scent by Issey Miyake Florale by Issey Miyake

It's difficult knowing where to start when it comes to describing the way A Scent Florale makes me feel. Thankfully it doesn't repulse me like the original, acrid and green A Scent did, however this fragrance lacks something.

It's fresh, just like its predecessor, however it has lost all its greeness and become more 'pink' and soapy. I'm not really enjoying its girlish charm, and I think the trend of the 'pink' perfume is starting to bore me to tears.

It's very subtle on the skin, so much so that I don't see the point in wearing it. A friend of mine actually mistook this fragrance as the scent of my shampoo, so I can't say that it has a real 'perfumey' vibe. It's one of those pleasant, inoffensive type fragrances that aim to please those around you rather than yourself.

Honestly, the scent is not too bad, however when it comes to clean florals, I would much prefer to sniff a bar of jasmine and peony scented soap than spray it on myself. The idea of smelling clean is something that I personally cannot fathom. Clean fragrances leave me uninspired.

I must say that the lasting strength is pretty good, especially since Issey Miyake does attempt to state in big, bold writing that this is an EDP by stating it in the perfume's name. I find that on fabric A Scent Florale tends to radiate a lot stronger, however the skin does lap this stuff up, making it very quiet and subdued.

For the sake of creating a flanker that I can now stomach, since the original A Scent made me nauseous, I am glad that this was released. However, like I unfortunately expected, this was yet another bland and boring soapy floral for me.

Bulgari pour Homme by Bulgari

Bvlgari has a knack for making beautiful, refreshing, casual yet classy fragrances that are always sure crowd pleasers. There is so much to love when it comes to Bvlgari Pour Homme. It's not the most amazing thing you'll ever smell, yet it is undeniably charming.

Quiet yet bold enough to make a statement, Bvlgari Pour Homme is a nicely balanced blend of light citrus, musky florals and aromatic herbs. Not a spectacular scent by any means, but one that is clean and soothing.

I think a lot of men tend to go overboard with fragrances because there is so much media these days telling them that they have to smell great for the ladies. Many over-apply, wear something they don't even like or just spritz it on for the hell of it. Something like Bvlgari Pour Homme is sometimes all you need to get female attention. Smell fresh and masculine and the rest is history.

Unfortunately the projection of this fragrance is not great. It is incredibly weak and even worse on the skin. The subtlety although admirable, could do with a boost in the sillage department so both the wearer and the people around him can enjoy this fragrance through all its stages.

I'm surprised to like something so subtle, however after many partners with strong fragrances, I've been craving a man that wears lighter scents. Bvlgari Pour Homme is what I'm after.

Escale aux Marquises by Christian Dior

I'm a little surprised that this fragrance has received quite a few negative reviews, seeming that I'm quite a fan. I don't usually like citrusy cologne-type fragrances, but Escale aux Marquises has surpassed my expectations.

Escale aux Marquises has a really refreshing zesty and peppery feel. It's a lot richer than Escale a Pondichery and Escale a Portofino, which were softer more citrusy fragrances. This perfume has a subtle hint of spiciness that intrigues me more than the other Cruise Collection fragrances did.

Ginger is a note that I really enjoy smelling in Summer fragrances. It gives a scent that special touch, while remaining fizzy and light at the same time. Honestly I don't get much in the way of the tiare flower, however I do get a lot of the citruses and the heavy spices.

Some are calling this masculine, yet I'll have to disagree. Despite smelling very much like a cologne, it's more feminine than masculine, especially on my skin. I also think it has a lot of character, so it's definitely something I would wear during Summer.

The sillage is not as weak as you would expect, in fact it projects rather well. The lasting power is moderate, something that wears for a relatively long time, but may need a few applications during the day.

Overall, Escale aux Marquises is a delightful fragrance, the perfect blend of citrus, pepper and spices. Fresh yet exotic, and in some ways, very sexy.

Vanille 44 by Le Labo

Vanille 44 initially takes you by surprise because it's not the vanilla you may expect. It's feminine and delicious just like vanilla scents always are, but not so girly and sweet.

I would describe Vanille 44 as being a dusty, smokey and milky vanilla, very subtle and natural smelling on the skin. It's the perfect vanilla for those that don't want to end up smelling like a cupcake or something that belongs in an ice cream cone.

I was drawn to this fragrance due to its incense note, and while this fragrance is smokey to a certain extent, it's not particularly exotic or mysterious. The vanilla is the main note here, however like I mentioned before, the sweetness is absent. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Vanille 44 settled on the skin very much like a natural, musky skin scent. It's rather pretty and oddly sensual.

The subtlety was a shock at first seeming that Le Labo is known for their heavy hitting scents. I also think the lack of lasting power leaves much to be desired, however I am impressed with this little number. The exclusivity and the expensive price tag is a little irritating, however if it had been more available it may have lost much of its mystery.

I'm not willing to buy a full bottle of this, especially at nearly $500 a bottle, however I much prefer this fragrance over other non-sweet vanillas like Annick Goutal's Vanille Exquise. It's certainly worth a try if sweet vanillas give you a headache or generally make you retch.

Eau des Merveilles by Hermès

Eau des Merveilles kept me intrigued for years as I could never manage to find a tester bottle. I worked this fragrance up in my mind to be something utterly spectacular, a masterpiece and a modern classic. Well, I like this fragrance, I really do, but it's not something that struck me down like lightning.

It's essentially dry, warm and strangely crisp, lemon and orange on a woodsy and peppery base. Very unusual I must say, but also something that relies on the right skin chemistry to make it work.

I'd love to layer this scent over another fragrance, because on its own I feel like it's missing something. It reminds me of the beach and scorching hot Summer weather, yet I crave a subtle hint of floral notes or a touch of sweetness to make it that little more complex and feminine.

I can certainly understand why men would want to wear this. Honestly, it has a very unisex feel. Whenever I smell Eau des Merveilles I am impressed, but I can't help wishing that this fragrance was a little more outrageous. The bottle makes me think of the solar system, a world so different from our own and I guess I wanted Eau des Merveilles to reflect that.

The sillage is quite good, yet nowhere near being a heavy hitter. I'm rather glad because the peppery orange on its own is a little harsh in its already rather subtle concentration. The longevity is so-so, not incredibly long lasting but sufficient to say the least.

All in all, Eau des Merveilles is certainly unique and one of a kind. The dryness and saltiness in this fragrance is quite lovable, however my only issue is that it tends to be more masculine than feminine to my nose.

Chant de Bois by Le Labo

I am really ecstatic about this new Le Labo series. For once, one of my favourite niche houses has come up with something really affordable, while remaining unique, complex and exciting.

Chant de Bois is a very spicy, almost aromatic fragrance with rich woodsy notes and a delicious hint of zesty fruits. It could easily be unisex, so don't let the fact that it's marketed towards women put men off.

The patchouli and pink pepper really gives this fragrance that extra boost; a bit of earthiness and exoticism. I read one article on this fragrance, (Craven Maven), that likened this fragrance to that of Asian cuisine. I'll have to agree, especially seeming that Chant de Bois tends to have a very aromatic quality.

My nose seems to be detecting a lot of patchouli, pepper and lemon, so I'd say you need to enjoy those notes in strong doses before you go anywhere near Chant de Bois. In some ways it's along the same lines as other Le Labo fragrances like, Oud 27 and Patchouli 24.

The sillage and longevity are wonderful, very powerful. Don't let the price tag fool you, this is still niche goodness, very Le Labo in its style and approach.

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