Valentino Donna Noir Absolu by Valentino

Really, really potent stuff. Thankfully, it smells good! Pepper and leather in the first few minutes (realistic, like the leather interior of a new car) and then plum and sandalwood for days. It is the "perfume" version of plum (reminds me vaguely of Balahe) but is the single note responsible for ticking Noir into feminine territory. The pepper remains, just a dusting atop this nearly opaque fragrance on my skin.

Excess No. 28 by Tokyo Milk

"Excess"ively reformulated.

I had bottle nearly a decade ago, probably the first release, that was matte-finish and contained a much different fragrance.

Gone is the camphorous patchouli and bitter orange; here to stay: syrupy sweet citrus amber. Excess went from a patchouli-forward, to an amber-forward scent, a change that (IMO) was not for the better.

Bellissima Parfum Intense by Blumarine

I enjoy the cheapies of my collection--no shame. Not everything can be a face-melting, ultra, ultra exclusif niche masterpiece. Sometimes, I don't want to feel complicated, aloof, or mysterious. Sometimes I just want to smell sweet and simple and no-frills.

I was gifted a partial bottle of Bellissima Parfum Intense a few months ago, and drained it. Then I repurchased, which is rare. It is dense, fuzzy and synthetic without a stitch of irony. The listed notes read like a bunch of nonsense to me; basically you'll get a sweet citrus (orange + jasmine = orange-blossomy-accord) over a vanillic/woodsy/musky base. But it's very pretty, very generic, and indelible on my skin.

I'm sure this perfume was created to ride Flowerbomb's coattails, and it ends up smelling like a La Vie est Belle knock-off (though it predates that blockbuster), which just goes to show that this sweet, fruity floral formula is ubiquitous for a reason: it's popular because it smells good. Confession: sometimes I actually like that powdery synthetic rendition of sandalwood, and Bellissima has it in spades. The bottle is weighty and doesn't feel as cheap as its price tag.

Jus No. 1 by Blugirl

I suspect the top notes in this cheapy are as fragile as a butterfly's wings, so caveat emptor. Mine has turned, and all that remain are the non-descript musky/woody base notes. I mostly wanted it because Nagel is the nose, and I generally enjoy her work, and for the Soda-Pop style bottle, which is heavy glass and quite pretty.

Alas, as a fragrance, it really serves no purpose.

Al Oudh by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I've nosed some skanky ouds, and this is not one of them.

Maybe because I am female, chemistry is at play? All I get and all I've ever gotten is a cinnamon/rose BOMB. I kept Al Oudh over Clinique's Beyond Rose because of its superior quality and better blending, but they are substantially similar scents.

Dries down spicy and powdery; a real firecracker. Did I mention there is NO oud?

V by Valentino

Really stellar sandalwood!

Because I prefer my sandalwood fragrances on the dry side (like 10 Corso Como, for example), I love V. The fig note is green and unripe, the citrus biting and bitter. There are some pretty and delicate florals in the background--I get mostly orange blossom--but V is predominantly a woody scent on my skin.

It also has this 90's-retro feel, hard to describe, but it's a sweet-grittiness that takes me back to corduroy jumpers, Doc Martens and a flannel shirt tied 'round my waist. I realize that it's Valentino, but it feels grungy to me, in the best way! A little spicy, a little rough around the edges, and a little vulnerable at the same time--unique!

Rose Atlantic by D.S. & Durga

Bottled Atlantic coastline.

I'm a native of Virginia Beach but no longer live there, so for years I was on the hunt for a scent to quench my nostalgia for the smell of the sea. On my skin, the bright pink tea rose only lingers for the first 30 minutes or so, which is fine because the brambles tucked in behind low dunes were mostly full of confederate jasmine and honeysuckle, not roses.

The heart of this perfume is a hyper-realistic impression of salty air, coarse sand, and sun-bleached wood. I immediately recall lifting sandy seashells to my nose and inhaling; there's a mineral, briny quality to Rose Atlantic that triggers memories of strolling the vacant coastline in early April. The air is crisp, sans any humidity, and the sky is clear and cloudless.

This is not a beachy perfume in the sense of warm, well-oiled bodies browning in the hot sun. DS Durga has captured the essence of the ocean, from the salt spray to the Loblolly pines dripping with Spanish moss. This perfume is linear, and has the characteristic poise and restraint of the other DS Durgas I've owned/sampled. Lamentably expensive, but available discounted online, and a lovely reminder of a life I once lived and often long for.

Onde Extase by Giorgio Armani

Pretty and powdery; I doubt Extase will offend anyone. I don't personally get much sesame (and I'm trying), but there is an unusual woodiness. Must just be the big narcissus opening; it smells like wood paneling, no lie. The dry down is a pillowy cloud of mimosa and something sweet, though the listed notes don't disclose what that could be. Extase has an overall dusty-powdery-gourmand feel to it. My favorite part is its performance; this is a dense fragrance that projects perfectly--gently wafting all day. There is an interesting smoky-nutty note buried deep in the base, maybe some toasted sesame?? All-in-all, nothing groundbreaking, but nonetheless pleasant to wear.

Explosions d’Emotions : Amour Nocturne by L'Artisan Parfumeur

A powdery, spicy, sweet wood fragrance. The gunpowder note feels like a novelty at first, but soon morphs into this spicy-smoky-dusty layer that just sits atop a dry and aromatic cedar. The sweetness is never too much for me, though the overall effect is that it makes the scent feel very dense and a bit stuffy. It is not too unusual to be unwearable, but quirky enough to eschew the mainstream.

Woodcut from Olympic Orchids came to mind immediately in the dry down.

Nomade by Chloé

If Nomade piques your interest, and it should if you are a chypre-fan, check out Blackglama's Epic, which is a virtual unknown that can be had for much, much less than Chloe.

I try not to get triggered when I encounter "similarities" in fragrances, but Nomade treats oakmoss & patchouli in a manner that is so similar it feels like a copy. The only difference I can detect is that one front-loads with fruits, the other with aromatics. Sweet or dry, take your pick.

It is nice to see this classic style sneaking back into the mainstream.

LAVS by Unum

This scent makes me physically uncomfortable. The scene it sets is unpleasant, at best. I feel like I am chin deep in cold, murky water at the bottom of a well, waiting to die alone. This is what Buffalo Bill's basement smelled like in Silence of the Lambs.

Any scent that can evoke such repulsion is an A+ in my book!

Orazuli by S.T. Dupont

Hard to believe this hasn't been compared to Narciso Rodriguez For Her EDT (I had to check the release date; it came out one year after NR). They share many notes, so I'm not surprised the compositions would end up smelling similar. Orazuli's neroli and citrus are a tad sweeter, and the musk isn't as suggestive as NR, but it's a pleasant, pretty dupe.

Latest Threads

Whatever your taste in perfume, we've got you covered...

catalogue your collection, keep track of your perfume wish-list, log your daily fragrance wears, review your latest finds, seek out long-lost scented loves, keep track of the latest perfume news, find your new favourite fragrance, and discuss perfume with like-minded people from all over the world...