Elixir by Penhaligon's

A very beautiful and unusual woody oriental by Olivia Giacobetti for Penhaligon's.

Despite the lift of the eucalyptus in the opening this is overall a very soft fragrance. Elixir captures me from the top notes. Straight away there is the most wonderful melding of eucalyptus with the rose coming through from the heart, and enhanced by other spices such as cardamom and mace. But the real beauty of this fragrance lies in the heart. For me it wears as a really lovely accord of sandalwood and rosewood, with an aromatic rose and a little cinnamon drifting like perfumed smoke over and through this rich woody accord. The incense, tonka, vanilla and benzoin are not particularly apparent to me but they may serve to soften and round out the base even further.

Elixir smells very rich but it wears more lightly than you may expect, and it doesn't last that well on skin, although it will linger on fabric for a very long time.

Elixir is exotic, sensual, cosy, comforting. There is nothing quite like it. But, if you like Egoiste, I challenge you to try Elixir, you never know what you might find.

Granville by Christian Dior

Classical, elegant, angular and cool.

Granville is a crisp, cool, slightly bitter, lemon, herb and pine fragrance in the Eau De Cologne style. Sparkling with light but also with bitter green shadows. Granville opens with sharp citrus and cool green notes. There is rosemary but the herb accord is dominated by a very realistic culinary thyme note as others have said. The fragrance is aromatic and dry. As it develops and the wood comes through I find that there is an airy, salty quality to Granville. There is also a mossiness in the drydown. Granville has something of Eau Sauvage , (the old one, from my memory,) and it is also very reminiscent of Blenheim Bouquet.

Montecristo by Masque

A rich and compelling fragrance. Classical with a pinch of weird. Terrific!

When I first smelled the opening notes of Montecristo I didn't think that I liked it. Now, having worn it several times I don't know why I ever thought that. I see that some others find the opening challenging too.

Montecristo opens with very boozy notes, and there is something that I personally perceive as over ripe fruit. To me it suggests the peachy bourbon of Southern Comfort rather than rum. There is a strong animalic presence and something herbal too. It is very manly. After a time, fruity tobacco and woody notes gain ground and the the fragrance dries. It is this transformation from the boozy opening to the dry tobacco/woody accords which captivates me. Then Montecristo develops the most beautiful woody fougere type character. Classical but with a pinch of weird.

This woody/tobacco fougeresque accord lasts throughout the development, and I find it utterly compelling. It is deep, rich and mature. I actually find Montecristo to be really sexy and I don't usually find fragrance sexy. It has confidence and solidity. It is the most masculine fragrance that I have smelled in a while, but I have been wearing it and I really enjoy it.

Russian Tea by Masque

Do you know the scent of black leaf tea?

Russian Tea is a bold rendition of black leaf tea. Not green tea, not herb tea, not chai, and certainly not tea bags. In fact I just smelled tea bags for the sake of it and I realised that they smell of paper, not tea.

Smell some good black leaf tea, of whatever type, and you will see that it has a complex fragrance of it's own. You might smell citrus notes, hay, tobacco, barnyard or cowshed notes, tarry notes, herbal notes, liquorice, smoky notes, and yes, I suppose, leather. It is no wonder that it translates so well to perfumery.

If you live in a nation of black tea drinkers you will know, or you will remember this smell, or if you use proper leaf tea you will know it. In the days before tea bags, leaf tea was kept in a caddy (a little tin or chest). The smell when the caddy was opened to make tea was really intense, darkly fragrant. Where I come from some of the older people used to like "stewed" tea, so the pot of tea was left to simmer gently on the stove top for a long time, with the tea getting richer and more concentrated as the day went on. The fragrance could permeate the house. It eventually acquired a bitter smell and taste. Russian Tea stops well short of that. There is nothing bitter about it, but it captures the intensely aromatic, intoxicating notes of black leaf tea.

The tea is present right from the beginning of Russian Tea but the first note you will smell is a lovely dry herbal mint. It is quite fleeting but it sets the scene wonderfully. For me, from there on in it is tea all the way. I don't smell the raspberry note as such, or the magnolia. It just all adds up to the most wonderful black tea accord, but because of the complexity, the mystery, the possibilities, of that accord, it continues to hold interest all the way through, and it has very good longevity. In the longer development there are woody and birchtar notes and in the deepest drydown, (being the next morning!) a little immortelle lingers on the skin.

The fragrance has a dry character and it is very refreshing. It is crisp but it has deep, deep notes too. It is modern but the central accord has a timeless, elegant quality. It will be lovely, quite special, anywhere, anytime and on anyone.

Amnesia by X-Ray

This just makes me feel happy.

X-Ray Profumo's Amnesia is, of course a paean to Ibiza summers and we can only assume that there is a nod to the club of the same name. Amnesia has nostalgia. The eighties, the Cafe del Mar. Elsewhere Donna Summer was still going strong and Erasure were about to arrive. There was more to the eighties of course. Politics were gritty, John Lennon was shot. But it was also a time of great optimism. We saw Rubik's cubes and mobile phones for the first time. In fashion, hair, make up and shoulders were big and unashamedly brash. "Beauty without Cruelty" was celebrated, Anita Roddick's Body Shop, established in the late seventies took off and a perfume icon was born. "White Musk", of course was unapologetically synthetic, fun, cheap and cheerful. Life seemed less complicated. You could be loud, proud, flashy, trashy and it was all good. I miss all that.

And now. Why so serious? When did it happen? It's all so serious. Perfume is all so serious. Well, apart from Amnesia that is. Ray Burns and Ralf Swieger have managed to produce something that stands apart from almost anything else that is around just now. It is so unashamedly upbeat, so unselfconscious, that it shines, brightly, above the gloom of the avant garde.

Amnesia shimmers like the sun on a swimming pool, gleams like the sun on oiled bodies. The notes are said to include waterlily, seaweed, sea salt, ambergris, sandalwood and ambrette but who cares! To me, Amnesia opens with soapy/salty/musky slightly floral notes and it ends with a lovely creamy sandalwood note. But really it is musk and sunshine and blue, blue sky, and sea and swimming pools and beaches and bare feet and laughter and carefree times, and I love it.

She Came To Stay by Edition Perfumes

A beautiful hermaphrodite.

To me, Timothy Han's debut fragrance is all about geranium. It's never sweet and it's not too aromatic as geranium can sometimes be. I agree with our friend deadidol that it is a crisp fragrance, crisp and cool. It opens with an almost minty (although it is actually basil) herbal geranium. The lemon may contribute to the crispness but it is far from obvious to me. On paper a striking accord of geranium and vetiver develops and I found this to be wonderful, and compulsive. Again on paper, at one stage there is an almost rubbery note, smoky, like a whisper of birchtar perhaps, or maybe this is an illusion.

Natural fragrances seem to perform very differently on skin than on paper, and I find She Came to Stay to be mellower and more subtle on skin. We have the cool minty/basil geranium, then after a time, perhaps half an hour or so the clove and nutmeg appear. These spices do not warm the composition, quite the contrary, the fragrance remains cool. At the same time the woody notes become more apparent, subtly supporting the fragrance. This phase is really beautiful and I am fortunate in that this is how it continues to wear on me. At this point I want to say that it is cold here, and dry, the house is cool and I am cool, and I do wonder if She came to Stay will be different in heat and humidity. I am going to guess that it will, and there will be more to be learned about it in those conditions.

The geranium note in this fragrance is very updated, very modern in my view, not classical at all. This is not the geranium of C&S No 88. Consider the geranium in Geranium Pour Monsieur with the mint toned away down to a wisp, and you will be somewhere along the right lines. Clean, crisp, modern. Unusually crisp for a natural fragrance I think. The accords are subtle and well blended and the addition of the cool spices and cedar and vetiver make for a wonderful fragrance. Simply put, it smells great. On first experience I did think that it had a kind of O'Driu lite vibe tinged with the sophistication of the Frederic Malle. That's some achievement.

I personally found that I had to wear quite a lot of this fragrance to enjoy it the way I wanted to, but as I said it is cold here and that may have an impact. With a generous application it hovered around me all day and I really enjoyed it. With a light application it will wear discreetly but still last a very long time, which will suit some people too.

In my view She came to Stay is neither masculine nor feminine and I would not describe it as "unisex". That is just too generic and clunky. I do think that some may perceive it as leaning to the masculine, but for me She Came To Stay occupies a wonderful place in that it is both masculine and feminine. It strikes me as a beautiful hermaphrodite of a fragrance. I really enjoy it.

The concept and the packaging are clever and appealing. I can see this being very successful, particularly in the fashion editorials.

Oud Imperial Eau de Parfum by Perris Monte Carlo

Oud Imperial, the elegant Oud.

Oud Imperial, OUD IMPERIAL, the name suggests a big honking, stonking, bombastic, in your face OUD. But it's not. It's really not. I have been surprised to discover that it is a beautifully elegant fragrance with Fougere references.

I've been spending a lot of time with Oud Imperial. I seem to agree, and disagree, with what others are saying about it. I would like to be able to say that I'm smart enough to detect the published notes, but I can't actually. I don't smell jasmine, or caraway, or sandalwood, or vetiver for that matter. I do smell other notes that may or may not be there. What does that matter? I can only tell you how I find it, whether real or imagined.

First off, every time I smell the topnotes I think that I smell a boozy rose in there. No one else seems to note that. An accord of boozy rose, geranium and pronounced woody resinous notes that I can only describe as smelling like pine and perhaps fir balsam to me. It's a gorgeous accord. It's deep and woody with the slightest aromatic aspect. I smelll a little aromatic accord in other Perris Monte Carlo fragrances, a little geranium, like a signature accord?

The heart of Oud Imperial reveals a terrific blend of frankincense and oud, and more woody notes. Then a fascinating burnt wood note, like wood blackened on a camp fire. There is a suggestion of something dark, green and herbal too, and patchouli. There are wonderful Fougere references , and I see that I'm not on my own there, as others have found this too.

Now, those of you who know me, will know that I am mostly gender blind when it comes to fragrance, but there are exceptions, and Oud Imperial is one of them. Oud Imperial is a mans fragrance in my view. It's not butch though. It is a beautiful mans fragrance. A fragrance for a beautiful man. It is simply the most elegant Oud fragrance that I have ever smelled. It has notes with such strong profiles, strong characters, and yet the whole fragrance is so skillfully balanced, so refined. It is timeless, very stylish, urbane even. I am smelling it right now and oh it is lovely. If a man wearing this were to sit down next to me I think that I would fall in love.

With no intention of being rude to Perris Monte Carlo, this elegant Oud would be better named Saville Row Oud in my view.

Ambre Gris Eau de Parfum by Perris Monte Carlo

A dry sexy amber.

There are no prominent top notes in Ambre Gris but it does open with the briefest "sparkle", which suggests orange to me, particularly on paper. Otherwise, straight away we are into an airy floral accord of rose and subtle geranium. But these early stages are only a prelude anyway, to the heart of this fragrance, which is a beautiful dry, dusty amber with salty notes , a wallop of musk, and something softly animalic. I emphasise "softly" animalic because there is nothing at all skanky about this fragrance, but it is there is definately an undertow of salty warm intimacy.

The mid development reminds me very much of L'Air de Rien by Miller Harris. Both fragrances have notes of dry, dusty old books, melancholy rooms with old wooden clocks, dust dancing in the light, and both fragrances have something of the body about them. Ambre Gris is easier and more wearable in my view. It has a slightly aromatic feel which makes it more friendly somehow. I imagine at times that there is a little heliotrope in Ambre Gris which plays a lovely part, although it is not listed. The base is a rich ambery/woody/ balsamic/ vanilla. Ambre Gris does wear quite close to the skin which I think is appropriate for this one as it is an intimate fragrance, best shared close up.

White Fire by Tiziana Terenzi

White Fire came as a surprise to me, and what a lovely surprise it is. White Fire is not a hot fragrance, on the contrary, it is a cold one. An icy, steely, airy, fragrance. White Fire is actually a White Floral. So cool that it will make you feel that you are breathing in fragranced oxygen. Smell it on paper and it will make you feel that your nose is cold!

Take a traditional white floral, take away the density, strip away most of the indoles and anything else that you don't need or want, open it up, expose it to the air, and chill it, and what you will have left is White Fire.

White Fire opens with a lovely bergamot, then very quickly a cool green jasmine, (only a little indolic), and some dry, airy and cool synthetic woody notes already coming through. The heart is white floral. The listed notes include "Chinese Jasmine", which as far as I am aware is common star jasmine. The jasmine note in this fragrance is not heady or heavy, it is very fresh, like garden jasmine on a cool evening breeze. In fact most of the time the dominant accord in the heart of this fragrance doesn't suggest jasmine to me, it suggests lilac. Lilac with jasmine and perhaps a little orange flower and maybe even lily. All the cool aspects of these flowers. It is a lean fragrance, white, silvery, incandescent. There is a little gentle soapiness at one point, it's slight, but it's there. I like it. In time the floral heart recedes and a woody musk which retains a little of the floral notes, settles onto the skin. It's an easy drydown, the least interesting part of the fragrance to me.

A word, just in case you think that any of this suggests that this fragrance is "pretty". It's not pretty in my view. It is too cold for that. It's beautiful, and striking, not pretty.

White Fire is crisp, clear, crystalline, lean, a little magical. Suitable for both the Ice Queen and Jack Frost.

Maremma by Tiziana Terenzi

I enjoyed discovering this fragrance. It arouses my interest and it's unlike anything else that I have tried. I looked at the notes before I tried it and I wasn't sure that I would like it at all, but it just goes to show.......never judge a fragrance by it's cover. So to speak.

Maremma opens with a bruised fruit accord, which may actually be more to do with the flowers (ylang for example) than fruit. It doesn't smell like blackcurrant (a listed note) at all to me. It doesn't smell at all floral either. It has a bruised fruit peachy papaya type accord. I'm still not sure of the meaning of this opening accord in this fragrance. It is a very dominant accord, and clearly important. But anyway it is transformed when it is joined by soflty balsamic notes coming up from the rear. When the star of the show appears you will know all about it! A dry woody accord takes over. It is a bit like cedar but more deeply pitched, as if aged, matured. It is oak. It smells like it should, powerful, strong, stalwart. Also important to this woody accord is a dry woody Iris. This fabulous woody accord is the heart of this fragrance. On paper there is a very pronouned varnish note like mastic or shellac, and also pepper, but this is not apparent on skin, not on my skin anyway. On skin it is softer while still very suggestive of strength.

Little accords and pairings come and go. One time there was a little passing accord quite well into the development which reminded me of Habit Rouge, and another was reminiscent of Laboratorio Olfattivo Cozumel, but in the end Maremma is very much it's own creature. The heart of wood continues till it is rounded out and softened by the balsamic amber notes.

Maremma intrigues me greatly. I do love the woody heart of this fragrance, but overall it is just too complex and unfathomable for me.

It's a personal neutral for me but I strongly recommend that you try this fascinating fragrance.

Jardins d'Armide (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

What a joy this is! I defy any fragrance lover not to react when they smell Jardins D'Armide, even if it is not to one's personal taste. I can't imagine that anyone would find it uninteresting.

The opening of this fragrance immediately brings to mind sugared almond dragees, every time! That's a bit odd maybe because I don't think that those particular confections have much of a smell actually, but that is the first image that pops up and floats around.

In fact, if you can imagine sweet sugared almonds, and those tiny candied violets which can be found in Madrid, add some orange flower water, some sweetly aromatic dried rose petals, some geranium soap, old fashioned iris powder, and some soft, billowy (and strangely not sweet) nutty vanilla, then you would be with me on this one. It is so gloriously old fashioned! Underscoring this feast of sweetmeats is a sweetly nostalgic floral accord, built around that lovely old fashioned aromatic rose. In time the fragrance settles into an aromatic accord of rose/violet/iris/geranium/almond (heliotrope?) and vanilla/tonka.

Jardins D'Armide is certainly sweet and powdery but of course that is it's charm. There is a little brighness too which provides a perfect foil. It is delighful, charming, nostalgic. It strikes me that it was made with unrestrained pleasure and perhaps even a little humour.

Official notes; (from the OLL website)

Top notes: Old Rose, Orange Blossom and Iris Powder.

Heart notes: Florentine iris, Violet Wild, Glycine and Carnation India.

Base notes: Honey, Almond, Tonka and Musk.

I am sure that this fragrance will have it's detractors. It won't be to everyones taste. It is very old fashioned after all, and it will be perceived by some as overtly feminine, too sweet, too powdery. But I also think that it will melt the hearts of many. It presents itself as an homage to fragrances past, with little or no compromise to suit current tastes, and in my view it should be respected for that alone.

Dare I say that it would be utterly intriguing on a man.

A big hurrah for this delightful fragrance.

Déjà Le Printemps (new) by Oriza L. Legrand

An exceptionally verdant fragrance with green herbal notes. It is intensely green, sappy and grassy to open. Then straight into a "wet" green phase which I can only describe as having notes suggestive of Aloe Vera to me. Aloe in a drenched herb garden. There is a mint note and an elusive suggestion of something which seems like fennel/anise to me. There is a note reminiscent of old ivy pulled from a wall which reminds me of the central note in Tauer's Verdant. This leads into green figs and fragrant earth in the mid development. Then the vetiver makes an appearance, and there is an almost inky note. The fragrance is much drier by this stage.

For some reason I don't often favour fig fragrances as such and initially I found this fragrance to be quite challenging, but it has intrigued me and interested me which is why I have tried it again and again, and I'm enjoying it. There is a lot more than fig going on here. It does remind me of Ninfeo Mio but Déjà Le Printemps impresses as softer and more refreshing. Of the two I much prefer this one. I anticipate that this will be a great success amongst fig lovers, and lovers of verdant green fragrances, of which it is a really lovely example.

An objective thumbs up from me. Not a personal "must have" but a huge recommendation all the same.

Infanta En Flor by Arquiste

A charming fragrance Well, it seems that I disagree with my respected friends/previous reviewers on this one. In my view this is a charming fragrance of great interest. Infanta En Flor opens with a very beautiful bright clean Orange Flower. A stunning opening. It is not heady. It's as clean as very good Orange Flower Water. It is joined by floral notes, notably a green, non indolic jasmine, which adds to the gentle sparkle. It is a very cool fragrance at this stage. The immortelle does not stand out on it's own to me. In the mid development the fragrance does become very soapy indeed, which we know is not unusual with orange flower, and I think that this soapy phase is consistent with the style of the fragrance. I don't mind that at all, in fact I find it very pleasant. Infanta en Flor hums along in this way for several hours. It is wearing close to the skin by then. Eventually, a soft balsamic leather emerges, quiet and elegant. After six hours or so, this becomes amber. It is a whisper on the skin by that time (from dabbing, it may be different if sprayed). Infanta en Flor is very lovely in my view. A successful composition with beautiful development. It's hard to describe where it sits in terms of genre, and in a strange way I think that perhaps that is why it doesn't get more attention. It smells quite classical but it has a more open, lighter structure which places it firmly on contemporary ground. It has suggestions of Eau de Cologne in the early stages but it has more tenacious foundations than that. It is rich but not in the least heavy. It strikes one as very complete somehow. If it seems like I am heading towards describing it as unique, well, no, it isn't that either. It's familiar. It won't be exciting enough for many people, but I think that it is a grower and probably a long keeper. It is one of the loveliest Orange Flower fragrances that I have tried. Try it if you like your Orange Flower clean and soapy. It would be great on both women and men.Pros: Beautiful StructureCons: None for me.

Lasso by Jean Patou

What a privilege to be able to try this fragrance, the original version, from the 1950's. Whether it has remained as it was then? Well, there is no way for me to know. I suspect that it has mellowed.

What strikes me about this fragrance every time that I wear it, is that is so beautifully PLUMP. Furrypine set the scene for us. It is a floral leather, not a chypre. It is not angular, nor is it as dense and uncompromising as some of it's peers. It is far more yielding. The flowers are a luscious bouquet but not overwhelming. They are old fashioned. The flowers have melded these days (perhaps always) but it has a Carnation, Jasmine, and Rose, heart, and Iris I think. The leather is both resinous and animalic, rich and soft, and just a bit smoky.

Lasso, vintage glamour through a soft focus lense, rich, soft, very appealing, and PLUMP!

Edited 24/02/2015, typo!

Sous Le Vent by Guerlain

One of the most fantastic openings that I have ever smelled. Green citrus and bitters. It doesn't smell like Campari but it makes me think of it. Think about unripe citrus, sherbet, lime. Then it is green and herbal, galbanum, verbena, and is there mint, and basil? Imagine all of that over ice. It hits you like a chill wind. Wonderful! It is icy, bitter, and dry. Something lurks beneath, an animalic tang. No, a twang. I'm only aware of it sometimes. This is quite unlike many of the other rich, dense, fragrances in the Guerlain family. It is much clearer, scalpel sharp, refreshing, upliftling.

Guerlain say that Sous Le Vent has a heart of Jasmine, Carnation, and Iris, but it's not a floral fragrance. Citrus, herbs, bitters, wood. It would make a great cocktail!

Terre de L'Encens by Cloon Keen Atelier

Terre de L'Encens begins with a surprisingly fresh splash, which gives way almost immediately to the main accord, a particularly peppery frankincense. In fact it is pepper that dominates the early development of this fragrance for some time. The Iris is there but quietly. It brings a dry earthy pillow to the fragrance. This is not a floral fragrance at all.

In the mid development, Terre de L'Encens is beautifully pitched in terms of dryness. The inspiration for this fragrance is nomadic desert traders. Cloon Keen describe it as having a quality like sand on skin. I agree. It is dry but with an undercurrent of soft warmth and salty skin. It is ochre in tone.

After some time the pepper gives way to a pronounced caramel note. The labdanum most likely, although there may be benzoin there too. It softens and becomes less dry, more resinous. Iris/ Pepper/Frankincense/Wood/Resins is the overall experience. If it helps, I could say that this is far closer to VC&A Bois D'Iris than it is to Dzongkha.

Terre de L'Encens is a lovely fragrance. It is well named and well realised.

Chypre Palatin by MDCI

Chypre Palatin is very beautiful. The opening is a notable dual bitter green/fruity accord. Then a fast develpoment into the heart of the fragrance. The more I wear this fragrance, the more I become aware of the most gorgeous cool floral accord (around the hyacinth I would think) which emerges a few minutes in to the development. There is a llittle soapy phase too at that stage, the aldehydes perhaps. This is followed by a more robust floral phase with the arrival of a good dose of Iris, powdery and dry, and rose. That said, this fragrance is never overtly floral, not at all, perhaps because everything that happens here is set over a very solid woody/balsamic/resinous base.

This heart of dry floral, slightly herbal and balsamic accords lasts many hours. Chypre Palatin wears beautifully. It's one of the most satisfying wears that I have ever experienced. The foundations of the fragrance are a rich, luxurious blend of sweet balsams, resins, vanilla and castoreum. If you awake to this drydown it is like awaking from a dream of a magical encounter which still lingers on your skin. It is hauntingly beautiful. In the mid to late development there is a stage which I sometimes tune into and I really enjoy. It smells something along the lines of scorched paper to me. Today this stage made me think of another dry balsamic/aromatic fragrance, MPG Eau des Iles.

I agree with drseid. I don't experience this fragrance as a chypre (as I understand chypres anyway). It wasn't what I expected at all. There are no sharp edges in Chypre Palatin. It has a soft, mainly dry, and very luxurious character. This is a very romantic fragrance. I love that Darvant describes it as Baroque. The more I wear it, the more I appreciate it. I can't speak highly enough of it really. I think that it would be beautiful on both women and men.

Edited 30/04/2014. Reason; still loving and discovering......

Ambra di Luna by Ramon Monegal

Ambra de Luna;

Amber, Labdanum, Jasmine, Castoruem, Sandalwood.

In my view this is one of those of those fragrances that is more than the sum of it's parts. It is beautifully composed, beautifully balanced, beautifully cohesive. It doesn't lend itself to being picked apart.

I absolutely concur with Alfarom that the overall impression is of a slightly boozy, (but only very slighty), amber with castoreum right there from the outset. Castoreum is my favourite animalic material. It is warm and soft and reassuring, like resting your head on a warm animals belly, or maybe your lover's. It is the perfect partner for Amber.

Ambra de Luna is the scent of contentment.

Imagine maybe a little cabin somewhere, a glow from the fire, a glass of sweet wine or sherry, and someone that you love. Time is slow, you are comfortable and reassured. To me, that is Ambra de Luna.

It is a beautiful balance of quiet, calm and refined but yet it has a very individual confidence. Ambra de Luna is suitable for both women and men.

Exultat by Maria Candida Gentile

Citrus to begin, but an unusual treatment of citrus, not sharp, or clear, but softly clouded, and a little woody. Petitgrain, joined by vetiver and peppery incense. If I say that Exultat is powdery I will have to explain that it is not powdery in the usual sense, rather it has a quality a bit like steamed fragrant rice, but drier. A fragrant cloud.

The notes are listed as;
Top; Somalian Incense, Sicilian Orange, Bitter Orange, Lime
Heart; Violet and Violet Leaf
Base; "Legni Preciosi", Haiti Vetiver, Texas Cedar

Don't expect Toulouse Volets or Parma Violets. The Violet is not dominant for me, although I see that it is for some others. What I do detect throughout is a beautifully aromatic quality. I wonder if that is the contribution of the violets and the violet leaf, in concert with the peppery incense, the vetiver and of course the cedar when it arrives.

Briefly, in my view, a woody, soft, citrus/frankincense/vetiver/cedar with an ethereal aromatic quality. Very arresting, spellbinding. At once classical but yet very modern. Not at all typical of the naturals school. Incredibly beautiful. Sillage and longevity are good.

Sideris by Maria Candida Gentile

When I first tried Sideris I was really puzzled. It appeared to be so similar to Exultat that I wondered why there would be two fragrances which were so closely related in the Maria Candida Gentile collection. But there is something different in the heart of Sideris.

The (published) notes;

Incense, Cystus, Myrrh, White Pepper, Saffron
Turkish Rose, Ayrshire Rose Splendens
Sandalwood, Benzoin, Waxed Woods

What an incredible collection of materials.

There is a definate relationship between Sideris and Exultat, a definate signature. It is the dry steam, vapourous, ethereal quality. It seems to me that it is something to do with Maria Candida's treatment of the frankincense, which they are both built around. In each fragrance the frankincense is very present but transformed somehow. In Exultat by Violet Leaf and Vetiver. In Sideris by pepper (white pepper), rose, saffron and myrrh.

Where Sideris differs from Exultat is that the heart of Sideris is rose, a slightly spicy rose. White pepper also wields a powerful influence, and the rose and pepper accord, with the frankincense, safrron and myrrh, is stunning. The drydown impresses me as a creamy, not too sweet, vanilla and benzoin, which retains some spice. Sandalwood is listed too but it is not apparent to me.

Sideris wears well and has a beautiful trail. In short it is a beautiful peppery incense rose with a soft vanilla/benzoin drydown. Again, as with Exultat, Sideris strikes me as a very contemporary fragrance which may also suit those who prefer a more classical feel to their fragrance.

Entre Naranjos by Ramon Monegal

Entre Naranjos;

Naranjos. What an appropriate introduction to a Spanish line! This beautiful fragrance opens with Neroli, Orange, Petigrain. The overall effect is of the most uplifting neroli, clean and clear as crystal. The orange is there, and that wonderful slightly woody/herbal quality of petigrain. Lovers of traditional Eau De Cologne will really appreciate the opeing of this fragrance.

Then it unexpectedly develops into a very soft skin scent. I liked that actually. The Eau de Cologne opening then a twist. Ambergris they say? Well I don't know, but to me an ambery phase which retains some orange and then the slightest hint of patchouli. Delightful!

After the arresting opening, it is feather light and it wears very, very close to the skin. At first I thought that this meant that it lacked something, but I have tried it a few times now and I have completely changed my mind. You know you can't judge everything with the same yardstick. It is not a powerhouse fragrance and it is not meant to be. It is a whisper of a thing, as light as a breeze. Sometimes it is better to whisper than to shout, and I think that this is actually the very essence of this fragrance. In my view it is obvious that it has been crafted by a deft hand, with very skillful and confident restraint. It is everything that it should be. It is elegant and very discreet. It would make a beautiful addition to ones wardrobe for those times when a beautiful cologne is just the thing for that moment.

It is completely androgynous.

Londa 1005 by O'Driù

LONDA 1005



The Orcadain people live in the Orkney Islands which are located between Scotland and Norway where the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. They believe in a creature called a Selkie, Seal people with human eyes, who come out of the sea and shed their skin to make love to humans. Selkie women are beautiful and the men are handsome. To keep a Selkie you must hide or burn their skin so that they can never leave. One story tells of a female Selkie, who's human husband hides her skin in the bottom of a trunk, but she finds it years later and she leaves him, and she returns to the sea, leaving her husband and their three children heartbroken.

Selkie men are great lovers. To get one you must shed seven tears into the sea.

Londa 1005 is a Selkie's fragrance.

LONDA 1005;
LONDA is a play on the Italian word for wave.

The opening of Londa 1005 is shocking, stinky, and in all honesty to me it smells fishy, blood and guts, pungent, a bit stagnant. I find this phase really unpleasant. But does that matter? There are other O'Driu fragrances in which the opening can not be said to be pretty, Vis et Honor is a prime example, but they certainly make you sit up and take notice. That phase does not last long.

Saripatates has explained that Cardamom in large concentrations can smell fishy to some people. I don't see Cardamom listed but whatever has been used to create this impression, the effect must be intentional in this context.

The stinky opening recedes and then we have notes of lemon, lemongrass, and bitter herbs which strike a slightly discordant phase of great interest. Then a cool pine and mint accord and the fragrance is transformed. There is something aromatic, reminiscent of Geranium, then vetiver.

The fragrance ends as the Selkie slips back into the Ocean leaving just a memory....

This is the only way that I can begin to describe this fragrance, as an experience, a story, rather than a perfume. Is it nice?...well it is not beautiful, it is not pretty, but like all of this line, it is certainly interesting.

Shooting Stars : Modoc by Xerjoff

A little, very fleeting but pleasant citrus for a clear opening, before moving very quickly indeed into a velvety soft Iris, made both aromatic and rich by suggestions of the vetiver and vanilla to come, and there is also, perhaps, a little violet leaf. As the vetiver gains ground on the Iris, the Vetiver/Iris accord settles in and at that stage it is very lovely. The Iris then falls away and Modoc becomes more of a peppery incense laid on vanilla and it remains that way throughout the remainder of the drydown. It is still very pleasant but less interesting by that time. Modoc has considerable tenacity.

I have been wearing this while being unaware that it was classed as a "masculine". In fact it wears as an opulent "feminine" peppery oriental would wear. Would that alter opinion I wonder? If you think Caron's Parfum Sacre you would not be too far away from a frame of reference for this fragrance.

Neutral rating for the price tag.

Tubéreuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens

Much has been said already about the opening of Tubereuse Criminelle.
In my view there are two ways to interpret the opening of TC. There is something of camphor, menthol, wintergreen, eucalyptus. I have seen it said that it smells like Dettol or TCP. I think that it is closest to Germolene. If you are familiar with Germolene you are with me, if not, stick with a disinfectant smell.

Or is it really? There is another way to interpret this extraordinary opening. Have you ever had a pot of hyacinth bulbs in your house, or in your garden, a vase of longiflora lillies maybe, some jasmine? Have you ever smelled them when they are at their most redolent? I once had a pot of tiny narcissi which filled a whole room with a heady, almost overwhelming, fragrance. At their most fragrant stage these flowers are approaching the boundary of what could be considered to be pleasantly floral. On the breeze they are intoxicatingly lovely. Close up they are pungent and challenging. We can read the opening of Tubereuse Criminelle in this way. It is very clever.

Sugandaraja describes it as having "a lively cooling sharpness". Yes, that is what I experience, not gasoline or rubber. The first time I smelled it I almost recoiled in surprise. Very soon, I came to crave it.

I know that many of you will be thinking Indoles, why hasn't she mentioned indoles? Well, I have, but just not by name. I don't like the association of indoles and feces. There is no fecal aspect to this fragrance. When the flowers come they are stunning. They are not pretty flowers. A friend of mine swears that at night, longiflora lillies, cut and in vases, turn their heads and spit. Yes, these flowers are of that ilk. Intoxicating, narcotic, but not stodgy or overbearing like some Tuberose fragrances are. They are cut with that cooling menthol effect. The mid development and the drydown are very closely intermingled. I have never smelled a real Tuberose. I can only tell you that TC smells something like a hyper realistic bouquet of hyacinth, jasmine, lily, gardenia, perhaps even a little carnation, with some ultraviolet light thrown in. But then, finally, as if they have spent themselves, a somehow appropriate, softer, creamier, floral and vanillic ending brings the show to a much quieter close.

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