Perfume Reviews by iodine

Misia Eau de Toilette by Chanel

The opening is nothing never smelt before: an angular, earthy, dusty iris as in Iris Silver Mist,soon followed by the most classical rose- violet lipstick accord with nuances of (roughish) suede, reminding me of La Traversée du Bosphore, or as many have said, Lipstick Rose with a raspberry tinged, almost winey rose flowering. But it's minutes after this well exploited accord that the fragrance develops all its peculiarity and beauty. It starts getting uncompromisingly Chanel, not in the easy,sparkling aldheydic and citruses way, but in a deeper and more basal way- gaining a carnal, skin like elegance. Some reviewers have pointed out edible notes of freshly baked bread, and I can relate on this, having the house often invaded by the scent of yeast and bread baking in our brand new bread- machine and having noticed how this scent shares many facets with the smell of human skin. The drydown- my favourite stage of Misia- is soft, buttery, slightly animalic like warm skin sprinkled with a generous dose of powder.
The sillage isn't memorable, even if the persistence on clothes is remarkable, leaving a very elegant, rosy- violety- ambery trace for days.
A fragrance that is both precious and easy to wear, sophisticated and comforting, maybe more on the feminine side.
23rd March 2016

Vetiver by Guerlain

A hot shower, a woollen scarf, thick and slightly itchy and out for a walk in an icy, crisp morning. Ever since having rediscovered this fragrance- I guess someone in my family used it back in the seventies, probably in form of aftershave or soap- I can't avoid this association with cold air on warm, clean skin and a gentle tickling.
Coriander seeds pair gracefully with citruses in the opening, leading to a heart of vetiver that's not too dark, nor bitter, not liquorice-y (a facet I don't care much about in vetiver), but remains fresh and grassy in a rich, complex way. The drydown is softly woody, with traces of resins and musks.
Having never had the chance to try the "pour elle" version, on which mamy swear- Luca Turin, for one- I find the fragrance perfectly unisex, being graceful without being pretty, assertive without being rude,spare without being rough.

21st March 2016


Venezia Giardini Segreti by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

Last year, at the beginning of June, I had the chance to spend a week end in Venice: jasmin shrubs, wisterias, the huge magnolias in the Public Gardens, linden blossoms in the rare alleys were in full bloom and the air was thick with a heady scent of white flowers. If you add the pervasive and ubiquitous scent of sea, slightly swampy, and the delicious smell of fried fish oozing from private houses and restaurant kitchens, you get the olfactory picture in all its complexity. No surprise then that master perfumer AbdesSalaam Attar found here inspiration for his fragrance in the Italian cities series.
No fried fish nor conventional marine notes, actually, but a multilayered composition around white flowers- jasmin and wisteria, with their hefty dose of indoles, but also a greener, lemony magnolia note- enveloping a balmy, aromatic core: myrrh, the signature blend of resins AbdesSalaam uses and creamy and salty ambergris conjure a spicy, slightly astringent and milky base. AbdesSalaam says ambergris smells like human milk- to my nose, familair to none of these notes in purity, the composition recalls the smell of jasmin tea with a drop of milk.
A superb fragrance, with a predictably poor longevity. Too bad, given the beauty and the cost. A treasure to smell quietly and intensely on a wrist rather than a fragrance to wear liberally.
19th December 2015

Musc Tonkin by Parfum d'Empire

Musc Tonkin

Soft, furry and sensuous animal this Musc Tonkin! The opening is fresh, rosy and fruity- I've recently learnt to acknowledge the raspberry/ blackberry note of certain muscs- and somewhat marine, not in an ozonic way, but salty, slightly fishy, pulpy as in an oyster- hence a reference to certain private parts of human body anatomy that elicit the "dirty" association, though we're rather far here from the "postcoital"(WayOffCenter) feel of a Musc Koublai Khan! The mood, here, is very natural, very human, slightly erotic but in a discreet, subtle way. The evolution is towards a warmer, richer, salty and savoury musky base, with hints of sweet and spicy and woody. Unlike other reviewers I have no qualms wearning this fragrance in daytime and in casual occasions. The lasting power is impressive- traces of musk can be smelt on skin for days and on clothes even after a full washing machine cycle, and the sillage present but not overpowering. A full bottle worthy fragrance, for me, if it weren't for the size- I can't possibly think of using up 100 ml of MT in my entire life!
5th November 2015

Tawaf by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

All the stinkiest facets of jasmin gather in the opening of this fragrance: a thick, milky sourish oil note, like freshly crushed green olives, pungent nail varnish and hot plastic, and a dose of indole that seems more likely to make insects flee away in terror rather than attract them... After this chemical feast- chemical not in the sense of synthetic of course, but in the sense that all these bizarre smelling natural molecules seem to have their five minutes of fame here- the fragrance settles on a very natural, rich and smooth jasmin. It stays then quite linear, pretty and rather well mannered like a jasmin shrub in the sunshine, slightly radiant with a now toned down dose of indoles, eventually getting sweeter and more resinous in the drydown. (As a side note, how curiously olfaction works: I couldn't detect the opoponax accord properly until, while reading about a monastery in Kefalonia, Greece, I suddenly recognized the warm, sweet, powdery note remebering the smell of another church I visited last year).
After an hour or so, smelling very close, I could detct quite clearly the narcissus note, with its interesting horse manure undertones, complimenting and amplifying both jasmin and sweet resins. A really gorgeous fragrance, with a single, predictable flaw in its lasting power.
21st June 2015

Frutti Paradisi by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

Frutti Paradisi starts with a juicy, sugary, pulpy apricot note- osmanthus!- tinged with a leather nuance (the opening of this fragrance reminds me of Cuir Ottoman), slightly smoky, astringent and gently rough to the nostrils. The fruity theme enriches in lactonic notes- I guess some white flowers are here to reinforce osmanthus- leaning towards ripe peaches and maybe mango. Some oily notes make an appearance at a certain point, slightly disturbing, and I can't say if it's a facet of some ingredient or it's an off note due to some spoiling of the sample. At any rate, this is the only jarring thing I perceive in the whole fragrance, and it doesn't last (too) long. The drydown is a suave, smooth, sugary resinous vanilla, still drenched in fruit juices and smoke.
On the whole, FP has a lot to say in some fields of perfumery: it's a fruity fragrance light years away from the mainstream themes and definitely unisex, and it's, in my opinion, the best rendition of osmathus in a fragrance.
21st June 2015

Don Corleone by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

Disclaimer: I've never visited Palermo- which I've been told is a peculiarly beautiful city- and personally don't feel any romantic fascination towards anything related to mafia, so I can't say about the geographical or social aptness of this fragrance. I must say I'm quite put off by the name, which sounds a bit sterotypical and permeated by an exotically tinged appeal towards what I see only as an enormous social and political national plague.

About the fragrance. A rather simple accord- tobacco, tuberose and vanilla. The harmony and coherence of the blending is masterful, as usual, smoothingly conducting from the herbal, smoky tobacco opening to a softer, richer, sweeter core of flowers and multifaceted- the woody, the slightly liquorice-y, the boozy, the earthy- vanilla.
Getting to know the corpus of AbdesSalaam Attar fragrances, I've begun to recognize certain "red threads" he disseminates in his scents, some of which I love, some I don't. Palermo happens to have the herbal- smoky thread, as in Tabac or in Chillum, that my nose perceive as quite bothering, due to some edible association (basically, this particular herbal accord reminds me of “amaro” digestive spirit and the the smoky one makes me think of smoked ham, two things that I enjoy eating or drinking but wouldn't wear!).
I guess that a nose that doesn't make such an association could easily enjoy this fragrance.
Despite the “masculine” label, I don't find this fragrance particularly manly, at least not in a sterotypical way.
19th June 2015

Acqua Santa / Holy Water by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

Flowers- a fresh rose and a sweet, tender orange blossoms note- introduce a beautiful, mineral, slightly sour accord of citrus and incense. I' m sort of short of words in describing this scent further- despite my steering clear from any kind of mysticism, I do feel a powerful sense of peace, coolness and focus while wearing Holy Water.
Beautiful in the easy and straightforward way some things are- balance, grace and quiet wonder stem from simplicity and precision of the composition.
On a more worldly level, I guess this fragrance could prove perfect in hot weather, succeeding in anchoring the fleeting citrus notes in the resinous base and yelding a persistent sense of coolness.
12th June 2015

Baiser Volé by Cartier

The opening is green, slightly citrussy, with hints of shampoo and hairspray- as other reviewers have pointed out- a combination that could have put me immediately off and induced me to dismiss it as another generic mainstream offer. Fortunately, on skin in a warm day, the fragrance soon gets rid of this unexciting start and displays a fresh, spicy- clover mainly, not too heady lily note that gains structure and complexity as time passes. The heart of the fragrance is smooth, velvety, lightly creamy and softly threading towards a musky drydown where vanilla, woods and patchouli mingle harmoniously. The drydown shares, in a softer, whispered tone, some notes with a more recent Mathilde Laurent work, La Panthère- I personally love this stage in both fragrances very much, but here comes my only qualm about BV: its longevity is quite weak, after a couple of hours I can barely detect it.
Longevity issue aside, Baiser Volé is an elegant, masterfully composed and somewhat reassuring fragrance, versatile and perfectly unisex, in my opinion.
(This review is based on a sample of EdP. I see there are other concentrations that maybe prove more long lasting)
6th June 2015

Legno di Nave / Seawood by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

The fascinating idea of driftwood has been explored in several fragrances composed by perfumers who use a hefty dose of synthetics in their formulas, AbdesSalaam Attar puts it in practice with naturals only. So, the sea must do without Calone and other metallic- ozonic- sour smelling aromachemicals, and the water-soaked wood steers away from (potentially dangerous for my über-sensitive nose) woodyambers. The result is a nice bitter composition that whirls around a fizzy citrus- grapefruit, probably as a facet of vetiver- tangy salty green vetiver and slightly camphoraceous, herbal patchouli. Given the notes I should love it, but this is not the exactly the case. Some spices that pull out the boozy, sweetish facets of patchouli, in the middle section of the fragrance, result slightly annoying for me, I much prefer the salty, juicy bitterness of the opening and the dry woodiness of the far dry down.
In any case, thumbs up for a fragrance that feels airy and easy to wear, expecially in Summer. Longevity is moderate, for those who care.
3rd June 2015

Dries Van Noten par Frederic Malle by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Ultra- gourmand take on sandalwood- the feel is indeed that of a cup of black, strong, slightly smoky tea with some spicy speculoos at its side, as Victoria of Bois de Jasmin suggests in her review. Nutmeg, clover, cinnamon, saffron- which, I find, gives a leathery, softly metallic undertone to fragrances- compliment the caramelized, roasted nuts facets of sandalwood.
Complex and rich as it is in the opening, it becomes quickly quite flat and boring, resting on a thick base of some widely used aromachemical that smooths away all the complexities.
30th May 2015

Lys Méditerranée by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Lys Méditerranée

Briny, breezy marine notes liven up a rather classical floral fragrance, conjuring a perfume that says "Summer at the seaside".
The marine notes have nothing to do with Calone, or ozone, or sour metal, or fish, rather feel airy, like the subtle , salty sea spray you get on windy days on the beach. The flowers- gorgeous lily and some of its relatives- aren't, in my opinion, cold and austere as some reviewers pointed out: I feel them creamy and waxy and rather warm, almost sharing savoury notes with sun kissed, slightly sweaty skin- I can't help quoting Luca Turin, here, and his comparison between lilies and salame! Though in many country, Italy for one, lilies are widely used in funeral services, I somewhat succeed in skipping this association and enjoying their heady, rich, pollen laden scent. (On a personal note, my psychoanalist, who is anosmic after nose surgery, used to put beautiful pink streaked lilies in a vase in his studio, hoping to be able to smell them again, sometimes. The heady, pervasive scent of lilies reminds me of an important, very vital phase of my life, so that's maybe why I see lilies devoided of cold or gloomy aspects). The drydown is creamy, soft, sweet and slightly resinous, with cosmetic and musky undertones.
In short, a softly radiant, serene, seamlessly elegant fragrance, ideal match with a holiday facing "the blue honey of the Mediterranean" (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
28th May 2015

Eau de Magnolia by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

In the garden of my suburban childhood and, later, in parks in the city, the blooming of Magnolia grandiflora at the end of May, beginning of June has always been one of my seasonal olfactory staples. I love the scent those big, white thick flowers give off- fizzy lemony, at the beginning, then honeyed, creamy, waxy, intensely vegetal. I'm also familiar with the peculiar green, sour, decaying note that petals emit when crushed between fingers- so eloquently depicted in another gorgeous magnolia fragrance, Vero Kern Mito.
EdM succeds in rendering the simple yet multifaceted olfactory spectrum of magnolias in a realistic but not just imitative way. Much has been said on Benaim's work on the cologne theme in the opening of this fragrance, but there's more for me to love: notably, the mossy, woody, slightly lemony base that hints to classical chypres- it reminds me of a perfume I used to smell when I was a child that made me think- "this is how I would like to smell when I'll grow up", conjuring fantasies of elegant, indipendent women with slightly flushed skin.
Eau de Magnolia is a lovely fragrance in hot weather, with good sillage and longevity. Its clssical imprint makes it suitable for both casual and elegant, more formal occasions, and totally unisex.
14th May 2015

Chamade Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

I guess Chamade stands as THE origin of my passion for fragrances. I recently found, in my childhood house, the box of minis and samples I began collecting since the age of nine or ten. Among a bunch of beautiful Guerlain miniature- Shalimar, Eau de Guerlain, Samsara, Mitsouko, Chamade- the only one that was almost finished was Chamade. Hence, I must have loved it, back then. After months of wearing the last tiniest drops from the precious, early 80ies vintage vial, and testing the current Chamade in various concentrations, I reached for the EdP. I'm not an expert on reformulation matters, so I trusted some people that granted the substantial goodness of this version (Luca Turin and Victoria Frolova, to cite a few) and decided that, since it was able to move me, again, it was right for me.
There's not much I can add on the notes or on the feel of such a widely known fragrance. To me, it smells of early spring days, when bulb flowers start pushing- hyacinths and narcissuses (LT mention narcissus in the Guide, hyacinth is officially listed- the two flowers share the same time of blooming and definitely share some facets, the oily, waxy ones, for example) and green things begin sprouting from the dormant soil. The green- floral opening turns into a soft, slightly powdery (better, pollen-y), resinous drydown, glowing quietly for hours and hours. Chamade has become my go-to fragrance, the one I can spray on when no other appeals to me, the one I find myself always happy to perceive, as I move, as I take off my scarf, or my jumper.
30th April 2015

The Unicorn Spell by LesNez

This morning I was shelling some peas and this fragrance came immediately to my mind. Its green, woody, green beans odd sweet opening used to put me off from further sniffing, but today I'm finding it much more gentle, much softer and much more on the barely sugar coated violet side than I remembered. A violet fragrance that successfully avoids the cosmetic, powdery- lipstick- soap association and sticks to the vegetal, the woodsy, the frost covered grassy feel, on the same wavelenght of L'Artisan Verte Violette. A nice fragrance, for violet lovers.

4th April 2015

La Liturgie des Heures by Jovoy

What happens when a Messe de Minuit takes place in Avignon Cathedral? That must be the question buzzing in the head of the people at Jovoy when they started thinking about an incense fragrance for their line. And the answer is, of course, La Liturgie des Heures! It starts coniferous and rock mineral like Avignon, though it displays immediately a darker, richer, deeper and even sweeter side: more myrrh, more resins. A grapefruit- bitter, sour, mineral in a slightly urinous way- note that immediately reminds me of the Etro fragrance hovers on the whole development. The drydown is more mellow, fizzy resinous, compared to the CdG fragrance, and, most important of all for me, it seems to be lacking the woody ambers that I find so bothering in Avignon.
In short, an enjoyable take on the church incense theme, though not much original.
2nd April 2015

Carbon [6C] by One of Those

C as in cardamom, or in cookies or in caramel or in caries…. Rather sickly sweet, spicy, somewhat dense and flat fragrance on the gourmand side of the spectrum. A variation on the oriental- spicy- woody- ambery, as smelt in thousands of fragrances- Malle's Dries Van Noten, just to name one, caramelized sandalwood included. Rather boring and conventional and, once again, with very little relevance to the concept of the brand and the spirit of the element that stands at the roots of every form of life, at least according to my own personal view of it!
23rd March 2015

Helium [2He] by One of Those

Plum crumble. After a quickly vanishing whiff of fresh fruit, the fragrance falls heavily and lastingly on a pleasant, but really boring and conventional spicy gourmand base, with no evolution and no further surprises. One could argue that this stability has to do with Helium being a noble gas, but, come on, we are talking about the element that constitutes 27% of the mass of the Sun- there's a bit of irreverence in making it smell like a fruit cake!
23rd March 2015

Hydrogen [1H] by One of Those

The beginning is exhilarating: sparkling citruses and fruit- grapefruit and pear mostly- bubbling and fizzing like a primordial hydrogen cloud bursting to give birth to heavier elements. Only, this particular one takes a short cut, yielding immediately some cold, sourish metal, accompanied by a hefty amount of ozone. This fragrance certainly has all the lightness of the smallest element in the periodic table, but after a promising opening, and past an awkward calone phase, it quickly settles on a rather conventional fruity musky vanillic base found in so many niche fragrances- ELDO is the first example coming to my mind.
Too bad, a line of fragrances entirely based on chemical elements has always been one of my brightest fantasies, but it's clear that the- super nice, it must be said- creative team behind nu-be don't share my personal sensitivity on elements.
22nd March 2015

Lithium [3Li] by One of Those

Lithium, the lightest metal in the periodic table- soft, white, slightly scaly, giving a beautiful crimson light when heated. What has it do do with a rather pleasant, yet conventionally niche spicy- woody oriental fragrance? As I've already said in H review, the team at nu-be must have a sensitivity towards chemical elements very distant from my own, hence my uneasiness in smelling fragrances that mismatch so badly their name, in my opinion.
The problem, here, anyway, is not the name. The fragrance itself is so safe, so nice, so predictable that I don't get the point of it.
22nd March 2015

Coromandel Eau de Toilette by Chanel

Coromadel starts with a creamy fizz of aldehydes, citruses- bergamot- and white flowers- lemon blossoms- intertwined with terpenic, volatile notes announcing patchouli. Patchouli is definitely there, not too earthy, not winy, rather dry and herbaceous and- for the bliss of my nose- soundly camphoraceous. But it's like you have to break through a thick, sweet, creamy crust to reach it. It reminds me of those slender, elegant citrus peels dipped in chocolate, their taste a perfect balance between sweet and bitter, aromatic and sour, zesty and rich, their texture velvety and crunchy at the same time. This shell lasts for the whole development of the fragrance, showing at a certain point a green, harshly sweet, slightly jarring note- maybe some aromachemical I'm hypersensitive to. The lingering of this note makes me love Coromandel a bit less unconditionally than I could, but every time I bury my nose closer to my skin, the gorgeous patchouli is there, uplifting and calming. In the drydown, the shell melts in a creamy, musky, chocolate-y amber base.
A great fragrance, with a powerful sillage and excellent longevity.
22nd March 2015

L'Eau d'Ambre by L'Artisan Parfumeur

This fragrance has been to my first untrained, later a bit more skilled nose THE archetypal amber. Nothing exceeding, here: not too aromatic or fancy the opening, not too sweet and sugary the development, not too dark and animalic the base. A green, spicy geranium on top, a core of vanilla, a nice round patchouli in the base. I can see how people looking for an amber with a bolder, more distinctive character- more animalic, more aromatic, sweeter, spicier..- can find excellent alternatives on the market, but this fragrance remains the perfect one, for me.
It's a scent I associate with end of year festive days, I feel its warmth and composed sweetness as a source of golden, mellow light, so easy and comfortable to wear, yet elegant and subtle.
4th January 2015

Essences Insensées by Diptyque

Weird sweet, powdery, woody mimosa scent, with the usual high-too high, to my sensitive nose- dose of aromachemical typical of most Diptyque fragrances. This one certainly has some graceful and pleasant aspects- mimosa with its powder, wet cardbord, paper glue and green facets, a most appealing candied, creamy vanilla note that makes its way through the nose with a curious delayed effect, nice light spices- but a screechy, synthetic feel keeps hovering on the entire development of the fragrance, ruining much of the grace and balance.
A fragrance that mimosa lovers should try, anyway.
2nd January 2015

Edgar by O.P.S.O

Totally agree with Darvant's review: nice, conventional and rather boring essay on the masculine theme, with some awkward short cuts to obtain the effect- i.e. a massive amount of the usual, ubiquitous synthetic woody ambers. Edgar smells like a thousand other masculine fragrances- I would add a strong resemblance to some Parfum d'Empire creations, Yuzu Fou and Iskander in particular , I can't see a reason to choose it.
9th November 2014