Perfume Reviews by iodine

Thé Pour un Été by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Before falling down the rabbit hole of perfume addiction, I simply was a lover of good fragrances and used to buy one a time, consume it till the last drop and say goodbye for ever. In this way, perfumes are strongly associated to certain periods of my life and they prove very hard to be reviewed objectively on re-testing. Anyway, this precious little perfume doesn't fail to be charming also after all these years.
It's a pretty simple but perfectly balanced declination of fresh herbs- mint, grass- citrus and flowers- jasmine mostly, on a transparent, sweet, woody base. The tea note is, alas, more conjured up by the associations with jasmine, mint or citruses than really detectable on its own. Perfect when the temperature rises, ideal companion of an afternoon on the beach or a walk in the countryside.
13th July 2012

Magnolia by Santa Maria Novella

What has this soapy, old lady's closet fragrance to do with the magnificent scent of true magnolias?! It could be any flower soap fragrance: jasmine, prominently The musks in the drydown, then, are truly aggressive! The general impression is that of a despairing staleness and obsolescence, sad to find in a fragrance meant to homage such a beautiful flower.
5th July 2012


Love Les Carottes by Honoré de Prés

I adore les carottes !!! Not the orange root itself, which is the only vegetable that I eat without much enthusiasm (along with turnips, at least until Madame Giacobetti decides to use them for a new perfume!), but this unusual and stunning fragrance! On first spraying it, I expected something quite odd and unwearable…. What a surprise, what a delight! To tell the entire truth, I'm not sure I do perceive real carrots- anyway, all the other notes I smell are just perfect on my skin: from the zesty and energizing orange, along with a slightly astringent and ligneous ginger in the start, the rich, smooth and velvety iris, to the moist,earthy rich patchouli in the drydown. It doesn't last much, that's its only flaw.
1st July 2012

Premier Figuier by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I have worn this fragrance for such a long time that I find quite difficult describing it. It's just a part of me, the scent that sometimes my skin assumes- apparently by its own will!- in summer… I realize that such a description could be of no use at all for other readers, so I'll try to do something better. Imagine a little object: it has the shape of a fig, maybe with a cut in the skin, hinting to some milk and juice leaking out, suggesting the deep pink moist flesh of the fruit, but it's made out of creamy sandalwood, rounded by traces of ligneous and polished sweetness of almonds and coconuts. It radiates an intensity, a kind of urging warmth, evoking hot summer days drenched in sunshine. A beautiful and inspiring fragrance, very easy-going and with a decent lasting power.
24th June 2012

Trayee by Neela Vermeire

Trayee is a “bittersweet symphony”, as The Verve put it some time ago.
This gorgeous fragrance blends together an impressive amount of notes ranging from bitter and medicinal to candy sweet , passing through fruity and spicy, woody and balmy.
The effect, though, has a deeper and darker shade than the Verve song, resulting more similar to certain smoky and dense atmospheres enlightened by a guitar and a suave voice, conjured by some Massive Attack songs (think of Group Four, for example).
Oudh, sandalwood, myrrh and incense provide a deep brown, sombre thickness that slowly gives way to a ligneous sweet base, bridged by spices- cardamom and ginger mostly- and, briefly, by fruity and flowery notes.
As others pointed out, Trayee can be seen as the darker, stouter sister of another scent by Duchaufour- La Traversée du Bosphore. Trayee, though, works better in colder weather, as it tends to be a bit overpowering when the temperature goes above 25°C.
The lasting power is great, ten hours at least.
5th June 2012

Traversée du Bosphore by L'Artisan Parfumeur

The very first time I sniffed TdB on a paper strip I dismissed it quickly, too fruity-sweet and with an unpleasant synthetic leathery note.
My tastes have evidently grown, in the meantime, as I now find TdB absolutely gorgeous and I'm planning to buy a FB for the summer! The leather-a note that I've come to love, lately- is almost not detectable on my skin; it gives instead a suede, velvety finish to the whole fragrance. The fruity- flowery sweetness, on the other hand, is an entire world to discover! First, the fruit: apples and pomegranate- sweet but also quite sour, astringent and with woody undertones amplified by a tobacco leaves note. Then the flowers: rose, iris, violet- creamy and velvety like a smooth garnet lipstick. The sweetness, finally: dusty dry, powdery, translucent like icing sugar barely covering a loukhoum and letting its juicy scent to leak out.
TdB is a deliciously comforting fragrance, rich but light and airy, perfect, I guess, with every weather condition.
4th June 2012

Voleur de Roses by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I adore patchouli in all its complexity. I love the fruity, winey top notes, the slightly dirty and animalic heart but, most of all, its dark, musty dry,camphoraceus base. The drier and more camphoraceus, the better, for me. Voleur de Roses is an ode to patchouli in all its beauty, with the rose to reinforce and illuminate its various facets.
I could have loved this fragrance if it weren't for the musk in the base, unfortunately one I can't cope with.

2nd June 2012

Indochine 25 by Parfumerie Generale

When I was a child I used to take a cough syrup that smelled and tasted exactly like the opening of Indochine: a spicy, nutty, honeyed, viscous sweetness attempting to mask the medicine's bitterness. Sure, the syrup lacked the enjoyable benzoin and ligneous notes that follows, or the dry, peppery incense of the drydown.
A pleasant fragrance, on the whole, though not so exotic nor intriguing as the name and the notes could suggest.

27th May 2012

Rose Poivrée by The Different Company

One of the best rose fragrances I have ever smelled. I don't get any pepper,though, but some pleasant citrus in the opening and a fresh and dewy rose sprinkled with lightly sweaty cumin. Then a beautiful, subtle "dirty underwear" note appears- civet, I guess- and it melds elegantly with the rose, rendering the fragrance worldly and poetic at the same time.
15th May 2012

Love Coco by Honoré de Prés

Delicious coconut, coriander leaves, vanilla potion.
Sweet but not cloying, refreshing but not shower-clean, sunny but not tropical, foody but more on the Thai soup side than on the more obvious coconut ice cream one… A highly enjoyable and uplifting fragrance, perfect in summer.
14th May 2012

Mon Numéro 6 by L'Artisan Parfumeur

A rather pleasant melting pot in which BD explores and expands notes and atmospheres already used in other fragrances of his. The fruity top notes (mango, litchees) remind of Dzonghka and Bombay Bling, the beautiful magnolia recalls Fleur de Liane and Magnolia Romana, the earthy and smoky drydown talks of Dzonghka and FdL again and the smokiest issues of the Eau d'Italie collection- Sienne L'Hiver, Bois d'Ombrie or Paestum Rose…
The result is, as I said, rather pleasant and harmonic, though not original at all.
I really can't see the need of the Mon Numéro series, especially when the city exclusive has apparently nothing to do with the city or even the country: smoky fruity floral and… Milan, Italy?!
6th May 2012

Exultat by Maria Candida Gentile

It could have been called “Fiat lux”, to stay in tune with the Latin -and a vague religious atmosphere. The incipit is dark, bitter, smoky: you just walk in clueless, ignoring what you might find beyond. Then, suddenly, the dark cloud cracks and you're invested with a happy explosion of light and sounds: crunchy citrus peels, crispy candied violets, red glowing incense, smoldering wood ashes. This joyous whirl slowly settles down in a rich, bittersweet and fizzy drydown that reminds me of chinotto taste, reinforced with vanilla and incense. (Chinotto is a citrus, Citrus x myrtifolia, that grows almost only in Mediterranean Italy. A very popular soft drink is prepared with this fruit: it has a very peculiar taste, at the same time very bitter and very sweet, not much citrussy. The candied fruit is delicious, too.).
I love this complex and ever surprising fragrance, easy to wear and impressively long lasting.
5th May 2012

Barry Lyndon by Maria Candida Gentile

Riding on horseback in summer fields at dusk, the air getting thinner and laden with herbal fragrances, Schubert's trio n. 2 playing in the distance… Everybody who's seen and loved Kubrick's film can't help acknowledging the perfect match between this scent and the atmospheres masterly conveyed in the film (and can find it difficult to evoke something different, too) . The beginning it's all about herbs: the slightly anisic, bitter artemisia, intoxicating with its mountain “amaro” (a kind of bitter alcoholic drink, made infusing herbs and roots in ethanol) effect, leads a chorus of fragrant grass and tiny, shy mountain flowers. Then the scent sweetens and becomes soft and velvety with leather and vanilla, with an exceptional lasting power. A gentle, airy, elegant fragrance.
2nd May 2012

Fleur d'Oranger by Evody

Ordinary orange blossoms fragrance, starting much like a classical cologne, sweetening a bit with grape notes, then ending in an annoying and very long lasting musky sourness. I can't see the need for a fragrance like this, considering the huge variety of great orange blossoms scents on the market.
1st May 2012

Mohur by Neela Vermeire

Mohur is, among the fragrances of the gorgeous NV trio, the one I find more difficult to appreciate fully, due to its rose overload. Nonetheless, it's a very elegant and perfectly balanced composition.
It starts with a sharp, "dry-cleaner" oud note, moistened by a fresh, dewy rose, then it slowly bends toward a classic feminine fragrance, with a smooth and sweet rose-iris-sandalwood heart sprinkled with spices, that gets even smoother and sweeter in the drydown. The lasting power is, as usual, impressive.
29th April 2012

Bombay Bling by Neela Vermeire

Like those wonderful Bollywood movie songs, based on the counterpoint between a female and a male voice, Bombay Bling sings its fragrant tune. First the lady, chirping of juicy mango and velvety white flowers- while the gentleman whispers gently dry oud and tobacco leaves in the background- then, the man, softly whirling on a fougère theme- while the slightly sour and resinous fruitiness lingers on.
A complex but perfectly balanced, funny and uplifting fragrance, with a great lasting power.
28th April 2012

After My Own Heart by Ineke

The concept behind this fragrance and the tiny, elegantly wrapped in paper sample are wonderful. Add that I love natural lilacs and you'd think I would appreciate this scent. Alas, not at all. On my skin it starts crispy clean, then a sweet lilac note appears for just a while to be soon replaced by an unpleasant aquatic, pungent laundry musk. It lasts for too long, leaving me with the feeling that I have overdone with my morning toilette...
13th April 2012

Chambre Noire by Olfactive Studio

Though it may not be the top of originality- I'm too a newbie to make sure references to other fragrances, but it seems to follow a long and consolidated trail- Chambre Noire is an extremely pleasant, enveloping and sensual fragrance to wear. It's like a plump leathery plum, sprinkled with pepper, hiding a smoky sensuous core of flowers- jasmine and a suddenly appearing and fleeting violet- and a sweet spicy amber drydown.
It's warm, it's sexy, it has a considerable longevity.
29th March 2012

Vamp à NY by Honoré de Prés

Vamp à NY is a funny and playfully sexy take on tuberose. The flower itself dominates the fragrance from the opening, but its carnal and voluptuous facets are rendered less dramatic by the notes that come along with it. The opening is quite weird: the thickness and chewiness of tuberose is made even denser with an effect of rum drenching soft fruit. It could be green mango, but also unripe bananas, or even vegetables like pumpkin. The result is a sort of velvety opacity, pleasantly sticky, with hints of rubber and green. The heart of the fragrance sees tuberose reinforced in sweetness, accompanied by a fragrant and poetic frangipani note. The basenotes underlines sweetness with vanilla, sweet resins and woods that give, in the very far drydown, a balsamic and fizzy twist. The lasting power is quite good, considering that the fragrance lacks totally in synthetics, up to 4 or 5 hours. The tuberose note, though,lingers tenaciously on clothes for days!
16th March 2012

Azemour les Orangers by Parfum d'Empire

This fragrance is intended to be an homage to Marc Antoine Corticchiato's childhood in Morocco, but it proved able to move me deeply, even if I grew up at other, much less poetic, latitudes. It opens sparkling and zesty to immediately deepen and widen thanks to spices (cumin, cardamom, but it's cinnamon the most prominent on my skin) a beautiful orange blossoms note and an amazing “ocean shore at sunset” note. There's something salty, something slightly astringent, bitter and medicinal as iodine, something sun dried, as desiccated seaweeds, something mineral as sand cooling down. There's also a candied orange peel note supported by woods that lasts for hours on skin. It's a mature and complex fragrance, yet very airy and easy to wear in every season of the year. It's the perfect citrus fragrance, for me, the one I've always been looking for. Merci, Monsieur Corticchiato!

14th March 2012

Farnesiana by Caron

Mimosas, with their beautifully fragile yellow flowers and their powdery sweet scent, have always been one of those plants whose only sight and smell are enough to lift my mood. The opening of Farnesiana finally made me understand why many people, when asked about mimosa scent, say “it stinks”! Here, the initial blast of green, almost mentholated notes and a sweet, crunchy bergamot note come along with the pungent, slightly putrid, wet cardboard undertones of mimosas and its close relative, cassie fragrance. The result is an interestingly shifting, plasticky smell that reminds me of …dolls' skin. In a few minutes, though, the mimosa issue is over, to give place to the most delicious almond- anise- heliotrope accord, so often found in fragrances but never perfectly balanced as it is here. The drydown is dominated by the sweet, cool powderiness of opoponax and vanilla. My only concern with Farnesiana Eau de Parfum is its relatively poor longevity, only a couple of hours on my skin, although a feathery sillage hovers much longer on clothes. A tender, elegant fragrance, ideal for end of winter and early spring days.
14th March 2012

Intrigant Patchouli 08 by Parfumerie Generale

I seem unable to love PG's work: even with my favourite notes, even when the fragrance smells overall convincing, there's always something that hits a wrong note… Patchouli is a note I love deeply, especially in its animalic and medicinal shades, I do not despise the honey gourmand touch, so I appreciate the opening of IP very much. BUT. Soon, on my skin, all that remains of this fragrance is something “counter-animalic”, i.e. a most unpleasant, harsh, nose piercing note that I associate to some pesticide spray! Maybe it's simply my skin chemistry, more probably I'm hypersensitive to some molecules- I tested it on my partner's skin , she couldn't smell it, but I could detect it on her skin as well.Too bad
14th March 2012

Equistrius by Parfum d'Empire

In Equistrius I found a sweet and gentle old friend, like someone who's always ready to give you all kinds of comforts when you need it. It starts with just a whiff of green violets, then begins offering buttery, creamy, almost chewable iris, tinged with amber and chocolate notes that soon assumes a powdery quality. It stays true to itself for almost all the (long) time, just sweetening and letting sandalwood linger around. A very composed and reliable fragrance, maybe not stunning with originality or surprising, but definitely one to wear confidently when times get harder!
30th November 2011

Aziyadé by Parfum d'Empire

Whenever I wear this fragrance I feel like a giant… candy for adults! There are some fruits, fresh (citrus and pomegranate) and dried (plump, fleshy,voluptuous dates), some liquorous essence, some spices (cinnamon and a piercing cumin being the most prominent and detectable ones) enveloping a heart of sweet resins, vanilla and a bitter touch of incense.
The beginning is far more interesting than the development, with the line signature citrus-resins-spices notes declined “oriental”, but I find the fragrance warm, sensual and very enjoyable in the whole.
30th November 2011