Perfume Reviews by iodine

Wazamba by Parfum d'Empire

I'd love Wazamba if it hadn't such a huge immortelle note (or immortelle effect, as I don't see it listed) in the heart! It starts with the typical citrus-resinous-spicy accord of others Marc Antoine Corticchiato's fragrances, here made sweeter and lighter by a fresh apple note. The well balanced combination of incense, resins and a round and balsamic myrrh are already lurking in the background, but, before getting to it, there's a wall of smoky bacon and curry to overcome! Too bad, as the beginning and the drydown are remarkably interesting.
24th November 2011

Dzongkha by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I like Dzonghka's beginning: it's 100% Duchaufour, with its fruit, berries and signature spice notes, fresh and hot at the same time. Then something disturbing makes its appearance: a fat, oily, foody (but not in a nice way!) note I find also in other BD works (I'm thinking at Sienne l'hiver, mostly) that for a few minutes renders the fragrance very unpleasant to wear. It fortunately passes quite quickly and a sweet and spicy incense settles in, luminous and sightly smoky. An interesting take on incense, but not a choice for me.
21st November 2011


Timbuktu by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Unimpressive. A bland concoction of Duchaufour typical spices and woods, where I can't find any originality or suggestion related to the inspiration behind it! On my skin it is very tame and quiet, definitely non-exotic!
21st November 2011

Narciso Rodriguez for Her by Narciso Rodriguez

It starts as one of my worst nightmares: a flare of flowers, especially jasmine and orange blossom the way I hate them (I can't exactly explain how it is but I could recognize it everywhere: sharp, oily, dirty in an uninteresting way,sickly sweet...).
I barely keep myself from scrubbing the fragrance from my arm when something familiar for me emerges's Dyptique Ofresia I'm smelling!! The same peppery and wet, transparent woody notes that I loved so much for a couple of years, long ago, before breaking a half full bottle on the bathroom floor and beginning to loathe it. This one doesn't even need spilling: the base notes, annoyingly long lasting, soon turn chemical and soapy, rendering the fragrance quite nasty for me.
21st November 2011

3 Fleurs by Parfum d'Empire

The first in order of appearance is jasmine, bold, straightforward with a touch of indolic notes; then enters tuberose, displaying its green facets rather than its creamy and voluptuous ones; finally a huge, cool, dewy rose opens wide its petals .
The three flowers, sharing and reinforcing their greener aspects, compose a flamboyant bouquet tied with a broad green band, fresh and intoxicating at the same time, with great longevity on skin. Not a perfume I would wear more than occasionally, because of its overpowering and endless sillage, but well balanced and faithful to its name. Anyway, due to the massive complaints that it provokes in my rose- hating entourage, I can't give it more than neutral.
17th November 2011

Eau Suave by Parfum d'Empire

This is the weak one in the excellent PdE line! I can't say exactly what's wrong for me with this fragrance, but I lose interest after a couple of seconds, when the intriguing patchouli note disappears behind a thick and almost nose irritating curtain of indefinite, musky bright fruit and flowers (it's hard to detect roses or raspberries or whatever listed).
7th November 2011

Ambre Russe by Parfum d'Empire

A couple of years ago, while spending my NewYear's holiday in Rome I caught a glimpse through the glasses of Hotel de Russie's hall. It was dark and rather cold outside, but inside the lights were burning, the air seemed warm and full of scents (vodka, champagne and fine foods, smoke and ladies perfumes…) and, most stunningly, a weird composition of Christmas trees made out of blond fur (!) towered in the middle… Wearing Ambre Russe made me immediately recall that magical image and the powerful sensations associated to it. It is dark and glowing, animalic and cheerful, wonderfully balanced in the never ending sweetness of the drydown. I'm not an amber person (I'd love to love it, but find it always too much intense on my skin) but Ambre Russe is a really masterfully done and evocative fragrance.
30th October 2011

A Quiet Morning by Miller et Bertaux

A quiet winter morning drinking tea on the balcony of a wooden house facing fog clad forests at Himalaya's mountainside. Inside, some Basmati rice is cooking with yellow spices- saffron, turmeric- outside the cold dry wind that blows from the mountains brings notes of camphor, cedar and most of all sandalwood, in its cleanest and sternest version. A faint hint of flowers appears suddenly, like a sunbeam through the mist, but it doesn't last long, the forest keeps swaying in the wind and releasing its balsamic notes. (I wish to thank Miller et Bertaux for the fragrance, my local Indian restaurant Rajput for the spices, Kiran Desai's book “The inheritance of loss” for the location and the countless cups of Darjeeling tea for the inspiration).
30th October 2011

Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire

Imagine you're wearing the softest, most comfortable yet extremely refined and elegant pair of violet suede moccasin: that's how I feel when wearing Cuir Ottoman!

The lines above were written after just having sampled the fragrance.
I still subscribe them, but after having bought a full bottle and having being able to enjoy properly the scent, I'll add something.
The opening is so vividly leathery that you almost feel the soft roughness in your nose. I don't know how this effect is rendered, olfactorially speaking- birch tar, animalic notes… but it's like your smell receptors are gently brushed by the microscopic asperities of the inner side of tanned leather. The leather notes gently give way to velvety, enveloping, almost gourmand floral notes- iris being the one I can more easily detect.
The drydown is rich, bittersweet, faintly smoky resinous with incense and benzoin.
The longevity of Cuir Ottoman isn't impressive, to be honest, nor its sillage: after a few hours the fragrance can be perceived only with close skin sniffing.
Nonetheless, it's a beautiful perfume, so elegant, yet so easy to wear and definitely perfect with every weather and on every occasion.
14th October 2011

Osmanthus Interdite by Parfum d'Empire

One of my highest moment of bliss in September arrives when I catch a sudden osmanthus scent in the air during a walk in the city streets. Since I discovered this tiny orange flower not many years ago- I often wonder how has it been possible to ignore it previously!- it has become one of my favourite floral fragrances, with its tea and apricot shades.
Osmanthus Interdite is by now my favourite take on the beloved flower: it starts citrussy effervescent, with hints of other summer flowers, then mellows in black tea and apricot notes (that succeed in staying away from jam or cheap shampoo effects!), to end in the softest and sweetest musky leather. Now, the basenotes are, for my taste, a bit too fruity musky, making the fragrance dangerously getting close to a certain banality… But, as the longevity is great, I can enjoy the top and middle notes for a long time! In short, it's a very warm and serene fragrance, perfect for an end of summer- early autumn day
3rd September 2011

Tilleul by D'Orsay

The opening is perfect: fresh and juicy like a ripe watermelon, shy and bold like a magenta cyclamen lurking in the forest. It lasts just a while, before the eponymous notes settle in, clean and fresh and windy. I would adore it, if it weren't a tiny bit too clean... The drydown strengthens on musky, soapy, waxy notes, while the pungent herbaceous note lingers far too long for my tastes. In the end I feel this scent cold and distant from skin, unable to warm up and melt in it. Too bad, I am a great fan of Olivia Giacobetti and love deeply the natural scent of lime blossoms , but this one doesn't suit me at all.
20th June 2011

Nuit de Tubéreuse by L'Artisan Parfumeur

I recently discovered that tuberose is one of my favourite floral notes, though not always an easy one to wear. Duchaufour's take on tuberose leaves me a bit puzzled- I love its spiciness, its earthiness, its somehow metallic undertone, its fruity facets and the leanness of the flower itself, devoided of the opulence, creaminess and carnality of most tuberose scents. I find it, as most of BD fragrances, clever, cerebral and smart. But, as it also often happens with some of them, in the drydown something highly synthetic and cold arises, an aloofness that detatches the scent from my skin and make me feel it a bit… alien. In conclusion I admire it more than I like to wear it, so I give it neutral.
8th May 2011

La Chasse aux Papillons by L'Artisan Parfumeur

There's a time of the year when I feel the need to smell this fragrance: when jasmin shrubs are starting to bloom, lindens are full of promising blossoms, the air is fizzy with scents and pollens, La Chasse aux papillons is the perfect scent, in my imagination, so I reach for my sample and dab a drop.
The opening is gorgeous, a flare of flowers - orange blossoms, jasmin, tuberose- offering their most daytime and sunny facets, glowing white and fresh and rich (an expert perfume blogger explains that this is another effect of indoles). Linden blossoms give a pleasantly soft and plastic support to the floral bouquet . As time passes, the fragrance sets mostly on tuberose on my skin, but the pleasure is disturbed by the reinforcement of the waxy and soapy notes of linden blossoms which, in the drydown make the fragrance veer towards a “laundry” feel, half used clothes, half soap… A petulant note emerges, as if the insouciant and free creature that tried to catch butterflies among white flowers has turned into someone complaining about being locked in the laundryroom!
Globally, I like it, as my recurrent use suggests, but there's something a bit sad and despairing in the drydown- which lasts quite a while on my skin, contrary to others reviewers, so I wouldn't give it more than neutral.
3rd May 2011

Dilmun by Lorenzo Villoresi

I have a deep respect for Lorenzo Villoresi and generally enjoy his fragrances- but, up to now, never enough to be drawn to buy a full bottle. In my recent craving for orange blossoms, I wanted so much to love Dilmun and hoped it would be the one I bought, giving a due homage to my fellow countryman. Unfortunately, it isn't.
It opens with a quite sharp and pungent, almost chemical note that seems, for a little while, to overcome the orange blossoms underneath. Then it emerges, wonderfully rich, round, mellow, with a gourmand quality- in many Italian cakes, orange flowers water is a distinctive ingredient. It quickly becomes musky powdery and soft, with very interesting whiffs of laurel leaves lingering upon. Then, it disappears all of a sudden, leaving nothing more than a soapy clean feel! On my skin, it lasts only for a couple of hours and reapplying would not be a fine choice, as I would be forced to smell again the harsh, nose tickling opening note...
Disappointing, even if the heart notes, for the little while they last, are pure delight to my nostrils.
2nd May 2011

Philosykos Eau de Toilette by Diptyque

Getting to know her work better, I tend to associate Olivia Giacobetti's fragrances to spheres of various material, consistence, colour. I think they have a sort of “tight “perfection, as if there's something in the core of the fragrance that pulls the surroundings towards itself evenly, giving it the shape of a sphere, precisely.
Philosykos, in this imagery, is a fragile, airy, wind drifting, transparent silver- white-green sphere, with the milky green notes of fig leaves and sap insisting on an aromatic woody heart. The scent that remains on my skin, after the fresh fruity notes of the opening fade, curiously reminds me of sun drenched marjoram (I haven't seen that note listed, but I can detect it quite sharply).
A very pleasant, serene and easy to wear fragrance, perfect in hot weather and in open air.
2nd May 2011

Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens

A distant and respectful admirer, though not a fan of Lutens- Sheldrake work as I am, I immediately fell in love with this dark, somber, powdery patchouli.
I love the astringent camphor initial blast (I only wish it lasted much more!), the strong animalic pong that lasts just for a while in the surroundings after having sprayed the fragrance – curiosly, not so much on skin!- the earthy and dry patchouli heart that gently yields bittersweet notes of coffee and liquorice and the vanishing, delocalized yet recurring bitter cocoa powder scent that seems to be falling on it from everywhere. In the quite long drydown, an almost fizzy, medicinal roundness keeps the fragrance very close on skin.
Borneo reminds me of a typical chocolate from a town called Modica, in Sicily, which, due to the peculiar preparation, comes in hard, brittle, granulous, opaque dark brown bars and has a powdery and dry taste, as it lacks of every sort of fats.
13th April 2011

parfums*PARFUMS Series 3 Incense: Avignon by Comme des Garçons

It was love at first sniff. The eccentric fashion brand put me off a bit, for a long time I've been passing by its huge range without giving it any attention. One day, I happened to take a swift and careless sniff at the Avignon candle- recalling it was Duchaufour's work, a perfumer with whom I wasn't lately in very good terms… OMG! No, it wasn't an instantaneous return to the catholic faith I had happily abandoned years ago, it was pure startling delight!
I tried it on skin and in a few days purchased a full bottle.
Wearing Avignon transports me in a small limestone romanic church on a hilltop in central Italy. It's a hot day and, in the distance, I can see- or just imagine- the sea. In the courtyard of the church, aromatic herbs (chamomile, they say), pines and cypresses move gently in the breeze. I step inside the church and breathe, in the cool darkness flecked with small votive candles, the most uplifting, luminous scent of incense and myrrh, paired with the refreshing balsamic resins carried by the light wind. The effect is immediate: coolness, calm and a meditative mood pervade my soul and I'm drawn in an ocean of peace. As I get deeper I start to perceive a spicy and slightly smoky sweetness, vanilla and woody balms, and maybe a hint of beeswax. It doesn't last very long, so after a while I get up from the church bench and step out, into the light and life, full of energy and grace.
A great fragrance, important yet very wearable close on skin, ideal when I feel the need of being soothed or to dive in my deeper self. I guess it must be extraordinarly fresh and airy during summer, can't wait to test it. By the way, Avignon succeded in making me reconcile with Monsieur Duchaufour…
22nd February 2011

Let Me Play The Lion by LesNez

I must admit I was caught by the name! I imagined a perfume that would have suited someone who sometimes asks their fellows to believe they can be roaring, daring, wild, even cruel like a lion, but everybody knows that they're much more akin to a big, lazy cat dozing off on the sofa… The actual perfume didn't disappoint my expectations: it definitely is a funny and playful fragrance, pretending to be serious, and a bit scary at the beginning, only to evolve into a very reassuring and woody warm skin scent.
It starts with pungent seeds and spices- aniseed, a faintly sweaty cumin, black pepper that give vigorous support to a spiky, stern cedar. Then, a deliciously bitter and slightly fizzy, medicinal note that I ascribe to myrrh, and a fleeting but powerful burning encense emerge, giving air and light to the fragrance. In the drydown, the woods placidly hold the scene: a by now tamed, dry cedar and a powdery, sawdusty sandalwood, softened and smoothed by the sweet facets of the spices. The fragrance has quite a good longevity on skin and affinity with fabrics, to make you feel envelopped in a dry, dusty golden cloud, like a plush lion's mane.
1st December 2010

Bois Farine by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Le rêve de l'écureuil.
Wearing Bois farine reminds me of the poetic name of a dessert I once tasted in France. What can a squirrel dream of, when winter days are getting shorter, trees are getting bare and cold creeps into his hole? I suppose he'd dream of nuts, nuts, nuts…
Grounded hazelnuts, walnuts, chestnuts, almonds (maybe not peanuts, as everybody here seems to point out, but I guess it is something to do with different food culture: I'm not accustomed to peanut butter's taste and couldn't say what it smells like): these notes gently hit my nostrils in the opening of the fragrance, along with bittersweetly piquant, liquorice-y Umbelliferae seeds- aniseed, fennel and cumin that spice it up just a bit. Then some flowers emerge, powdery iris, to give light and softness to the woods surrounding.
Everything is fine until some synthetic woody amber that I'm hypersensitive to stands out and soon the fragrance becomes quite a scrubber for me.
Too bad, as the opening is lovely in its exceptionally gentle, subtle and comforting nuttiness.
29th November 2010

Ambre 114 by Histoires de Parfums

What lead me buying Ambre 114 was a severe and potentially dangerous detour from my perfume- purchasing- habits: I just gave it a quick sniff, found it quite pleasant and decided that it would have represented the third member of the beautiful 15 ml vials coffret, along with 1804 and Vert Pivoine, which I had tested more accurately on my skin.
It turned out to be the only one of the three that I like and could wear!
It opens with strong and pungent aromatic notes: I can identify most clearly thyme and freshly grated nutmeg, that sublime the bracing greeness of geranium. These notes, curiosly, have a great tenacity on clothes, so they last almost all day and keep reminding the beginning while the fragrance evolves on skin, creating a charming effect.
Then the woods- I couldn't say exactly what wood, I seem unable to recognize patchouli or sandalwood in mix- give strenght and support, while ambery notes give a special glow to a most delightful and balanced vanilla, conjuring up a powdery candied sugar, marron glacèe-like fragrance, not a bit sticky or overly sweet, that would stay on my skin for hours.
Ambre 114 is a nice fragrance for a winter day, as it gives comfort and pleasure on wool-warmed skin.
15th November 2010

1804 George Sand by Histoires de Parfums

First of all: I adore pineapple. I love its taste- expecially enlivened by just a touch of black pepper in festive desserts ; I love its scent, from the tart, slightly sour greeness of the unripe fruit to the sweet and juicy full ripeness, even to the alcoholic, almost intoxicating aroma of the early decay. So, I obviously am very curious about pineapple fragrances. 1804 immediately struck me positively with its strong and brilliant pineapple note, its proper spices (pepper, I'd say, even if it's not listed) and exotic flowers (tiarè, jasmin…) that conjured up a combination very plesasant to my nose. But, in a few minutes, the musks begin to emerge powerfully and slowly seem to submerge evrything else, levelling the scent on a persistent but monotonous note, in which pineapple is boosted and dominates on an almost indistinct flowery-ambery base. I can't detect anything else until the very end of the drydown, when a sweet vanilla shyly appears. Maybe it's because I really don't love musks- there's a particular white musk note (I can't name the molecule, but can detect it in very faint traces) that has the power of ruining the fragrance completely, after I've sensed it!- maybe because I generally prefer less blatant and more subtly evolving fragrances, but I can't give it more thanneutral.
3rd November 2010

Fleur de Liane by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Take a rainy morning in an autumn day. You do feel like going outside and having a long walk in the park, enjoying the falling leaves whirling a while in the wind to end up floating in the rivulets of water that trickle down the path. What perfume would you wear? No doubt, for me. I'd wear Fleur de Liane. By the time I'd be outside, the fruity top notes (watery melon, not very interesting for me, by the way) would have already vanished and I would be envelopped in the deep, damp, strong, earthy vegetal scent (Vetiver? Patchouli? Drenched exotic woods?) that so perfectly matches the smell that the soaked ground exhales. In this cloud that surrounds me and make me feel so perfectly friendly to my environment, a whiff of white flowers (magnolia, lily of the valley…) would remind me of other times of the year, while the persistent, metallic ozone note (which I generally loathe and almost made me discard FdL at the first sniff!) would add a nostalgic marine hue to my walk. If I'd smell more closely my warmed skin, I'd recognize the sort of sweet-smoky- peppery signature of Bertrand Duchaufour, definitely one of my favourite noses. FdL would stay with me for the whole day, even if my skin doesn't generally support great longevity, and eventually mingle with what I will be wearing next - I loved its serendipitous encounter on my clothes with Histoires de Parfums Ambre 114.In short, both thumbs up for a beautifully conceived and evocative fragrance.
1st November 2010