Tuberose by Elizabeth W

Upon initial application, elizabeth w TUBEROSE seemed a bit oily to me. Not buttery but somewhat heavier, veering in the direction of Versace BLONDE only without the dirty civet quality. However, the oiliness disappeared in the next couple of minutes, when the fragrance became an ever-so-slightly spicy and not-at-all-dirty tuberose soliflore.

Unfortunately, the longevity was very poor, which is not the end of the world, but it cut my wear a bit short. The sillage was also pretty low. I definitely think that this is worth pursuing, but my small sample vial is now empty, so I'll have to find some more.

Leaves by Elizabeth W

I was surprised, to put it mildly, to find that elizabeth w LEAVES smelled an awful lot like TEA ROSE: the familiar rose-bush-in-blender perfume so often re-done at usually much higher prices. Lots of green leaves and thorns thrown in with the rose petals, producing a very green rose. But why in the world would elizabeth w call a tea rose perfume LEAVES? my inquiring mind wanted to know.

Having now returned from a www fact-finding mission, I feel that it is my duty to report that MISTAKES WERE MADE. It turns out that my clear, unlabeled vial, attached to a card reading LEAVES, in fact contained elizabeth w's own tea rose perfume, ROSE, described at the house's site thus: "Moist green notes and wild roses, enhanced with accents of fresh forest berries and hawthorn."

What I donned today was decidedly not LEAVES, which is described thus:
"A soft, woody base of Atlas cedar and sandalwood balances amber with green, leafy top notes."

I am still interested in trying LEAVES, but this was not that. However, I'll leave this review as a caveat to those testing perfumes from unmarked glass vials...

Rose by Elizabeth W

Today I accidentally sampled elizabeth W ROSE (with which my LEAVES vial had been erroneously filled). To my nose, ROSE is a green rose perfume in the spirit of Perfumer's Workshop TEA ROSE, only smoother, less rosy and more green. The elizabeth W composition also dries down with a touch of soap, while TEA ROSE remains on my skin a rose-bush-in-a-blender scent from start to finish--which is a long time after application!

I think that elizabeth W ROSE is probably a more directly wearable rose perfume than is TEA ROSE, but I rarely ever don rose soliflores, so I'll stick with what I have for now, Guerlain AA ROSA MAGNIFICA and PW TEA ROSE, the latter of which I find mixes with any- and everything to add a dash of rose in cases of floral deficiency. (I actually think of PW TEA ROSE as more of a condiment than as a stand-alone perfume.)

Magnolia by Elizabeth W

I am of the considered opinion that women have every business in the world smelling like flowers, so the opportunity to explore straightforward floral offerings is always a welcome one to me. I recently happened upon a cluster of elizabeth w samples acquired some time ago but stowed in the back of my queue since this house was not listed at fragrantica at that time (and still is not today...). Lo and behold, here at basenotes I find the obscure house of elizabeth w!!!

MAGNOLIA opens slightly sweet, with a fruity-floral demeanor not so different from many recent designer launches, well, except that MAGNOLIA smells very natural to me. The sweetness begins to subside nearly immediately, ceding to a soapiness (also a familiar current theme among new launches). My favorite stage is smack dab in the middle, when the magnolia shines the brightest. By the drydown (which is lengthy), MAGNOLIA smells like freshly soaped skin not fully rinsed before leaving the bath. It's not a bad soap scent at all, but it's definitely much more about soap than it is about magnolia.

Twirl by Kate Spade

To my nose, Kate Spade TWIRL is deeply and multidimensionally redundant. That's because it was drawn from the vast vat of Elizabeth Arden juice containing "such notes" as the marketers wish to claim in their jingles and blurbs. Ultra "abstract" fruity-floral fragrances one and all, there's as much cause for saying that they contain enriched uranium as "such notes as pink watermelon, blackberry and red currant, orange blossom, star jasmine, tiare flower and magnolia, glittering musk and French cookies (Macaroon)."

Some people, obviously of hearty constitution, are able to wear these compositions well and even enjoy their squeaky shampoo quality and blob-like expansive sillage. I, however, having apparently been cursed with ultra-sensitive nerve endings, tend to find these synthetic EA soups somewhat annoying and at best banal. In the worst cases, they expand into major scrubbers over the course of a wear. What good is great longevity and huge sillage, if they make you feel like Alex in "A Clockwork Orange" as Beethoven's Ninth is pumped into his flat? I ask most sincerely.

Alas, TWIRL falls just over the "must scrub" line, as evidenced by the fact that I have no intention whatsoever of finishing even this small sample vial. Enjoy it, if you can. I'm afraid I'll have to pass.

Boyfriend by Boyfriend

Based on the marketing campaign and professed raison d'être of BOYFRIEND, to create a fragrance which permits Kate Walsh "to take her boyfriend with her wherever she goes," I think that it's safe to say that my expectations were at rock bottom in donning this perfume today. I imagined that this creation would intersect in various ways with one or more of the sweaty musk scents which don't appeal to me very much (CABARET, LOVELY, SO ELIXIR, NR for her, AGENT PROVOCATEUR, etc.). It turns out, however, that Kate Walsh's boyfriend apparently smells like a woody fruity chypre! What a surprise!

BOYFRIEND smells remarkably nice, with marked incense and plum notes conjoined with what seems to be patchouli, along with the amber and no dirty musk whatsoever. No sweat socks or "just got back from running and need a shower" scent is anywhere here to be sniffed. This may be a rare case where the marketing campaign kills rather than sustains a new launch. Well worth trying, by guys and gals alike, this perfume has fairly big sillage and good longevity and occupies the same general olfactory neighborhood as FEU D'ISSEY and KAPSULE WOODY. It is simply being marketed to the wrong crowd!

Would I buy a bottle of a perfume called BOYFRIEND? I should probably wait until this is discontinued and the formula is rebottled under a less ridiculous name. But perhaps in the meantime I'll pick up a roller ball of the perfume oil...

Sweet Oriental Dream by Montale

For loukhoum lovers only, Montale SWEET ORIENTAL DREAM is just that. To my nose, this composition is slightly less sweet than my memory of the first perfume in the Keiko Mecheri trio. However, my reception of the KM loukhoum perfumes may very well have been affected by my non-expectations of super-sweetness, given that I had no idea at the time what loukhoum even was!

My suspicion is that some reviewers of SWEET ORIENTAL DREAM, too, lacked previous loukhoum experience. What is even more strange, given the name, is that people are complaining that this perfume is sweet. This is a rare case of total truth in advertising! I could definitely understand such complaints, were this perfume simply named ORIENTAL DREAM and marketed as unisex. Then any guy who purchased this scent unsniffed would have a valid claim in requesting a full refund. In this case, however, the sweetness is unabashedly and unapologetically revealed up front and center. If you do not like sweet perfumes, why in the world would you be purchasing something called SWEET ORIENTAL DREAM? Perhaps reviewers simply like to bitch in general. That would explain why they get all bent out of shape whether the name falsely or accurately claims to be this or that thing. But I digress...

SWEET ORIENTAL DREAM is a confectionary perfume with more almond nougat than anything else. The roses are akin to the ones made out of frosting and poised atop store-baked birthday and wedding cakes. But anyone who is actually looking for a loukhoum perfume should give this one a try, provided that they have a triple expresso and a pitcher of ice water close by! The longevity of this perfume is typical for loukhoum-centric compositions, at least those I've tried: quasi-infinite. Loukhoum sticks around until you submerge your perfumed naked body in a bath! That's a good thing if you like it, but a precaution to those who are testing for the very first time.

A fine loukhoum perfume, in my estimation, but it is what it is, and it's not what it's not. If you have not yet walked down loukhoum lane, this would be an excellent place to start (and, for many, to finish).

Lady Million by Paco Rabanne

LADY MILLION offers a case study for a couple of hypotheses which have popped up in the threads and blogs of late. First: do too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the soup? Dominique Ropion, Anne Flipo and Beatrice Piquet: sounds like a dream team, but then how in the world did they manage together to produce LADY MILLION? I ask most sincerely.

The other question relates to the importance of quality ingredients in producing a first-rate perfume. Maybe if this would-have-been Dream Team had used real honey, raspberries, patchouli, jasmine, gardenia, and neroli, then LADY MILLION would have smelled like it was worth a million--or even a hundred--bucks. Instead what I'm sniffin' is artificial flavors + artificial flavors + artificial flavors, leading to a final "perfume" product of aromachemical soup!

In a word: Yuck.

1 Million by Paco Rabanne

I decided to take up the samples of 1 MILLION languishing in my queue, having at last given Paco Rabanne LADY MILLION a sniff. How does this couple fare? Well, 1 MILLION is certainly a million times better than his not-so-fair LADY, but that, in and of itself, is fairly faint praise (a million times zero is still zero...).

I understand why the marketers put only .03oz in their sample spray vials: this perfume is strong and could easily overwhelm the wearer and those around him. But I do think that it at least has an identity, unlike LADY MILLION, which smells like someone wore the same cardigan over the course of the winter, changing her perfumes each day, and waiting until the end of the season before setting out for the dry cleaners. Kind of a mingling of many different stale perfumes was for me the take away.

The sample of 1 MILLION I tested yesterday opened with a markedly minty freshness, which many reviewers have described as bubble gum-like. It is the same note which is found in the opening of Vivienne Westwood BOUDOIR and several other perfumes intended for women. So the first point is: this composition does seem at least unisex to me, and I'm not surprised that some guys do not like its feminine side.

Interestingly enough, today's sample was nearly devoid of that "bubblegum" note, leading me to believe that there may be batch issues with this fragrance, which could help to explain the radically disparate receptions among reviewers. Both samples, however, did eventually offer a slightly spicy leather drydown with excellent longevity. The composition also smacks a bit in fleeting waves of certain geranium-nutmeg perfumes. Overall, it is much better than LADY MILLION, and offers another example (cf. Lalique ENCRE NOIRE vs. ENCRE NOIRE POUR ELLE) of the creation of a flanker-quality perfume for women as an afterthought to a successful launch for men. (the Adam's rib trope plays out once again...)

Apparently, this fragrance has been very popular in clubs, but I do not recall having smelled it on anyone in my circles before. Since I have not been jaded by overexposure, I would actually consider wearing 1 MILLION now and then, if I happened to have a bottle around. But I'm not going to make any effort to acquire one at this point. I do think, however, that this is a decent perfume, well worth sniffing by guys and gals alike.

Kapsule Light by Lagerfeld

Subtle or boring? Well, it's all a matter of personal values, I suppose. KAPSULE LIGHT, to me, is a subtle, slightly masculine-leaning cologne. The dominant cedarish quality is I gather imparted by iso-E-super? So I guess that what I loved about WOODY was not the iso-E-super, because here the spices are at the threshold of being undetectable. To my nose, the overall feeling is closer to Molecule 01 than to WOODY. Yes, LIGHT, as advertised, is light. This would be a fine scent for the modern wall-less open office. I am also sure that this would mix well with more intense perfumes, to mellow them out a bit. I am going to try mixing this one with some of the harder-hitting offerings from the house of Comme des Garçons...

Although the individual perfumes of this collection are not earthshatteringly brilliant, overall, I am happy with the KAPSULE collection. Great concept, splendid aesthetic execution on all fronts. Why even the silver-and-white-accented, textured black cardboard boxes are beautiful! Did I mention that Karl's signature is stamped (with raised lettering as in Braille) on the bottom of the bottles? The color of this bottle, by the way, is a lighter version of the tealish-smokey blue of the WOODY bottle. They look so sleek lined up together. Bravo, Karl!

Kapsule Floriental by Lagerfeld

Lagerfeld KAPSULE FLORIENTAL comes in a gorgeous red bottle, but the composition has a rather creamy yellow feeling to me, falling somewhere in between KAPSULE WOODY and Henri Bendel VANILLA FLOWER. Surely there's more to this perfume than violet, tea, and ivy? I'd add wood, possibly tobacco leaf, and vanilla, for starters. This is not very floral, but it does seem more feminine than the other two members of the trio.

FLORIENTAL is a gentle, not-too-sweet, not-too-spicy oriental perfume, with a softness vaguely reminiscent of Jill Sander Style Pastel SOFT YELLOW--but perhaps without the benzoin and with a touch more wood? Although this perfume is not all that original, it has a soothing and warm quality which makes it suitable for cooler weather. I am going to try mixing it with the other two KAPSULES and see how that goes.

Kapsule Woody by Lagerfeld

Well, perhaps I've unwittingly become an iso-E-super slut, but I have to say that I like KAPSULE WOODY a lot! The plum and the wood mingle together enticingly with the moss (though it does not really seem like oakmoss to me, nor is evernia prunastri listed among the ingredients).

By far my favorite of the KAPSULE trio, WOODY is fully unisex to my nose. I do find this one a bit different from the usual woody colognes out there, primarily because of the plum. Somehow I'm getting a bit of an emergent incense vibe out of the deceptively simple line-up of notes.

Same gorgeous bottle, this time in a tealish blue. Splendid!!!! Even the sleek brushed-aluminum cap feels and looks nice. Love the geometry and aesthetics of the whole presentation. Kudos to Karl & Co. for not neglecting the all-important details all-too-often overlooked.

Brezza di Seta by Calé

Aptly named BREZZA DI SETA is a very appealing floral perfume with a somewhat powdery, lightly woody drydown. The opening reminds me of BVLGARI POUR FEMME, with the rose and violets especially mingling together. I do not detect any lavender here, but maybe it all works together synthetically, as in every skillful blend which shrouds its notes in mystery.

To my nose, this is a gorgeous creation with a glistening resinous quality especially in the opening moments. The wood, which emerges subsequently, smells to me like finely powdered cedar (not vetiver), but it adds depth and texture. I find the drydown of this composition vaguely reminiscent of Creed LOVE IN BLACK, what with the powdery wood and violets and all...

Although BREZZA DI SETA may not be the most original perfume to have been launched in recent history, it really does smell wonderful. I am of the opinion that sometimes different perfumers create apparently similar creations not because they are copying each other but because a good idea is a good idea, and a splendid scent is a splendid scent!

I do think that this naturally sweet-smelling flowery and powdery perfume is best suited for women. The longevity is excellent and the sillage medium.

Jennifer Aniston / Lolavie by Jennifer Aniston

I vaguely recall having read at some point during the height of Jennifer Aniston's "Woman Scorned World Tour" that she was one of the celebrities whose favorite perfume was produced by the house of Clean. Then of course there is her ad campaign for Smart Water: the implication being that the Woman Scorned is clean and pure, unlike the vamp who stole her man. Given all of this background, I cannot really claim to be surprised that Ms. Aniston's new perfume smells like a cross between one of the Clean compositions and the Philosophy fragrance which smacks of Dow Aerosol Bathroom cleaner (I believe it is INNER GRACE).

LOLAVIE or JENNIFER ANISTON, whatever it is named, opens with a slightly caustic quality very reminiscent to my nose of household cleaning products. I'd say that it very nearly crosses over the line and may well incorporate some of the IFF accords being used to scent household antibacterial wipes, powders, and sprays. The quality is not exactly sharp, as in sharp floral green perfumes, for example. No, it's more industrial to my nose. Fortunately, the opening subsides relatively quickly, leaving behind something pretty close to a middling hotel soap facsimile. Is this woman obsessed with hygiene or what? Perhaps her nemesis wears civet bombs and that is real reason why her marriage came to an end.

Ange ou Démon Le Secret by Givenchy

It took me about half my mini to figure out that ANGE OU DEMON LE SECRET is basically a dilute pinkish fruity-floral tea fragrance. Something like Diet Cranberry Snapple.

Here are the notes according to Givenchy (sugar is not listed, so I'm assuming it's nutrasweet or sucralose?):

top: Italian winter lemon, cranberries, green tea leaf
heart: Jasmine, white peony, water flowers
base: Blond woods, patchouli

Yet another boring flanker. Every bit as inoffensive as it is forgettable.

L - L.A.M.B by Gwen Stefani

Was it the "sparkling green freshness" (note scare quotes...) or perhaps the leafy water hyacinth amalgmated to pears and white freesia? All I know is that the moment I made the fated decision to don Gwen Stefani L-LAMB in a store today, it became clear that I had made a very serious mistake. Instant headache in a bottle! My poor little neurons were pulsating in pain until I finally made my way out of the store and into the abundant fresh air of the parking lot, where I hyperventilated for several minutes in order to flush out all of my suffering, suffocating cells.

Never again will I subject myself to such torture. I tested a few of the Harajuku Lovers collection a while back, which were so banal and BHT-laden that I could only come up with haiku reviews, but L is positively toxic on my skin. Gwen Stefani now numbers among my select list of celebrity "perfumers" to scrupulously avoid.

The bottle should have been the biggest warning sign of all. Cheap plastic huge cap, the very antithesis of fondle-worthy, a complete and utter aesthetic mess. Honestly, it brought back memories of a yuppie couple I once knew who had silverware that was so cheap and flimsy and battered and ugly that it looked as though it might have been lifted from a hospital cafeteria. But I digress...

Bad bottle, worse contents. Thank goodness I set my skepticism about induction temporarily to one side and had the good sense not to buy this one blind. Oh my, I must be suffering memory loss from today's poisoning: I have yet to describe the smell of this "perfume"! Think BEYOND PARADISE plus molten plastic and insecticide.

Harrods Rose by Bond No. 9

What sets HARRODS ROSE apart from the crowd is the hefty dose of ambrette, which to my nose actually ends up making this more of an ambrette than a floral perfume. There is an exotic feeling here, rather oriental, but not in any of the usual ways. No patchouli, no vanilla, no incense/oud, no culinary spices. What's more, to me this composition is not sweet at all. I detect no fruits whatsoever, just a huge helping of ambrette, along with a lovely bouquet of narcissus, rose, and tuberose. To my nose, the narcissus is by far the most dominant of the three floral notes.

I happen to love ambrette. Small wonder, then, that I love HARRODS ROSE! Although this comes in a gold-streaked light pink bottle and is marketed to women, my suspicion is that there are some gents out there who would appreciate this not-so-pink perfume very much. This is probably another case where the name builds up expectations, and people quite reasonably assume, "Oh, another rose perfume: pass." In fact, HARRODS ROSE is not a rose perfume--it's a hidden treasure!

Not a Perfume by Juliette Has a Gun

Apparently Escentric MOLECULE 02, launched in 2008, is essentially ambroxan, and Juliette Has a Gun NOT A PERFUME, launched in 2010, is also essentially ambroxan. Is there a problem here? Well, I guess that everyone has the right to bottle an aromachemical and sell it at 10,000% profit if they want to. And, amazingly enough, some people really will buy it, even at niche prices!

Although I have not smelled MOLECULE 02, NOT A PERFUME does remind me of my memory of MOLECULE 01: vague woodishness, a bit perfumey. Smells okay, which is to be expected, since this is used to boost the perfumic quality of perfumes, right? To my nose, NOT A PERFUME smells like the base of a men's cologne featuring cedar. It's not too masculine, but it's definitely not feminine.

Okay, I think that this once original idea has exhausted its fifteen minutes of fame. Time to return to perfume, thank you very much!

UR for Women by Usher

Usher UR FOR WOMEN seems to me very similar in spirit to the perfumes of the Juicy Couture line and may have been produced starting from the same marketing data: sweet, pleasant, floral in an inoffensive way. Pink, actually. The bottle is adorned with bling, with a weighty metal cap, and the glass has a rainbow-iridescent coating.

Although the praline note does make this composition sweet, I find it nonetheless wearable. I cannot identify any individual flowers--they just seem "abstract". However, despite the fact that this is obviously a synthetic mixture, it does not smell nauseating and chemical to me, as so many similar fragrances do.

Not bad at all, for a celebrity scent. I recommend UR as a lower-priced alternative to JUICY COUTURE.

Ferré Rose by Gianfranco Ferré

Ordinarily, an all-fruit opening line-up, including both watermelon and pomegranate, would be a huge red flag--or rather pink--evoking memories of some of the ghastly Victoria's Secret Secret Garden fruity nightmares. However, as a big fan of Pierre Bourdon's fruity-iris, FERRE edp, I decided to throw caution to the wind and pick up a bottle of FERRE ROSE, which was also created by a famous nose. What did I have to lose? Even if I hated the perfume inside, the bottle would still look beautiful next to my glorious FERRE edp.

As expected, this perfume is indeed pink. About as pink as they come, but somehow the fruits do not decompose and attract gnats, as happens when I attempt to don BEYOND PARADISE and similar synthetic fruity-abstract floral mishmash fragrances. In FERRE ROSE, the fruits retain their integrity and dominate the florals but in a cheerful not a cloying or sickening way. This perfume is nowhere near as nice as the Pierre Bourdon creation, which is more floral than fruity, and golden, not pink. Yet FERRE ROSE is nice for what it is: a balanced and wearable fruity pink (not rose) perfume.

Rochas Femme (new) by Rochas

It saddens me to learn that people are selling bad bottles and decants of reformulated Rochas FEMME. My own bottle (acquired at some point during the late twentieth century) contains a delightful fruity chypre with just enough spice to make it truly unique. Although I am quite sensitive to cumin and find many cumin-heavy niche perfumes completely unwearable, the drydown of Rochas FEMME is simply a dream, with the texture and depth characteristic of all good chypres.

I agree with awesomeness (in a comment to one of my blog posts) that Olivier Crisp's FEMME is leaps and bounds better than reformulated MITSOUKO. In the case of MITSOUKO, the reformulation itself is at fault. Not so in the case of FEMME. Those who believe on the basis of an e-bay acquired sample or bottle (or a decanted vial from the same...) that this composition is "vile" have obviously sniffed a very different liquid than what is found inside my beautiful bottle of FEMME.

The inference made by one reviewer to the effect that the "vile" quality of FEMME accounts for the fact that bottles can be had for $8 at e-bay completely misconstrues the order of explanation, it seems to me. In a recent post in the threads here at Basenotes, a member un-self-consciously reported that she was preparing to put up for sale on e-bay a bottle of perfume which she herself believed to have gone bad. In the case of FEMME, I think that the evidence is overwhelming that, if this perfume is not properly cared for, it will spoil, and that is why there are so many bad bottles being fobbed off for $8 to people chump enough to think that they're getting a good deal.

Newsflash: that's what people do. They put their sour perfume (and other junk) up for sale on e-bay and hope that some dumb sucker will buy it. Some of the buyers, not knowing any better, simply assume that the fault lies with the perfumer, not with those who handled the perfume over the years since it was produced. CAVEAT EMPTOR!!!

End of apology and mini-rant.

New York Oud by Bond No. 9

Perfumers could save themselves a lot of grief and many dismissively nasty reviews (a trend which may have been popularized by "The Guide"), if they would simply stop naming their creations literally. Another case in point from Bond no 9, NEW YORK OUD, as so many reviewers have complained, does not smell like oud. Because nearly everyone focuses upon the literal name of a literally named perfume when it come times to pen a review, all sight is lost of the quality of the perfume, as the quest to prove false advertising exerts a strangely powerful effect on sniffers, who proceed to spend most or even all of their words denying that the perfume is what it says that it is. In the meantime, some among them forget all about the much more important question: does it smell any good? I think that reviewers would do well to heed the wise words of Socrates, who maintained that poets are the last people to ask about the meaning of their poems, and perhaps olfactory artists, for their part, should not presume to be able to tell us what we can expect to experience when we spritz on their perfumes. Do yourselves a huge favor, O Noble Perfumers: name your wares metaphorically and leave it up to us to decide which notes are salient!

Fortunately, for the vast majority of their expansive collection, the folks at Bond no 9 have not made this mistake, because the names of their perfumes are, generally speaking, non sequiturs. Do they have anything whatsoever to do with the compositions themselves? No. They are nearly all the names of streets or neighborhoods in the greater metropolitan New York area, which, you can take on my testimony, do not smell anything at all like the contents of any of the Bond no 9 bottles. Thankfully, this house is not avant garde enough to bottle the sickening odor of serial killer crime scenes and the like, so their offerings actually tend to smell like perfumes and colognes, not some "revolutionary" but totally unwearable nonsense which seems to me about as masterful as a plate of plastic food.

It is true that, in the naming of their perfumes after neighborhoods and streets, Bond no 9 has gone astray in a few cases with their "map of Manhattan method", throwing darts which landed a bit far afield, on the state of Texas, or the city of New Orleans, or (?) department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue or Harrods. But, for the most part, the names of their perfumes are just plain old places in or near New York City, ironically enough, one of the stinkiest cities I've had the displeasure of visiting. I actually cringe at the thought of living there, with the omnipresent bags of garbage piled up in the street, the complete lack of wind (obstructed by the buildings) and, in summertime, the sweltering heat causing all of those ugly, noxious odors to vaporize. In a word: No. If success be a job in New York City, by all means, let me fail. But I digress...

The interesting thing about NEW YORK OUD is that once you get beyond the fact that it's not really an oud perfume--certainly not in the classic sense--then you become open to the discovery that, in fact, this is a fine saffron-rose oriental composition. I don't think that it's the best one around, but it's certainly not a worthless piece of junk, as some "Where's my oud?" reviewers have suggested. Based on my preliminary testing, I'll definitely be giving this creation another try. It is quite potent, so there is plenty left in my sample vial for another time. My neutral rating reflects my dissatisfaction with the opening of this perfume, which reminded me somewhat of the toner cartridge opening of ENCRE NOIRE, but here it was more volatile and nearly overwhelming. However, all of that appears to have been a mere distraction, and after a few minutes I ended up being pleasantly surprised with the saffron-rose drydown.

Bond No.9 Perfume Oud by Bond No. 9

First off, let me boldly declare that I am NOT anosmic to oud. Why Bond no 9 itself carries a very fine oud fragrance familiar to me: HARRODS SWAROVSKI LIMITED EDITION. I am sorry to have to report, however, that Bond no 9 SIGNATURE seems like a serious case of "Mistakes were made." Have I been sniffing too much iso-E-super, and is it in fact fat soluble? I'm wondering because SIGNATURE smells to me suspiciously similar to a few different heavily iso-E-super-infused colognes. No oud whatsoever, as far as I can tell! No roses either, for that matter. Just that all-too-familiar "smacks of cedar" smell...

I have to give this one a thumbs down because of the mix-up in the lab or the decanting error. Either way, anyone looking for an oud perfume need not apply... Both this composition and HARRODS FOR HER appear to be the products of "modular perfuming" gone awry.

Beyond Love, prohibited by By Kilian

Kilian BEYOND LOVE is touted by some as the best tuberose soliflore around, but I myself detect a significant jasmine note, in addition to a touch of coconut and a dash of dirtiness (apparently imparted by synthetic ambergris?). Although this composition is a bit thick, it is nothing next to Serge Lutens DATURA NOIR, which offers hefty doses of both tuberose and coconut and ends up rather clunky (and unwearable by me) as a result.

I do not recall having sniffed another quasi-tuberose soliflore before, but maybe that's because there are so many much better and more complex tuberose-centric perfumes around. Perfumers probably figure: what's the point? Versace BLONDE is darker and dirtier, Robert Piguet FRACAS is brighter, juicier and more vibrant, while CARNAL FLOWER is vegetal and green.

Next to such masterful tuberose perfumes, BEYOND LOVE seems somewhat opaque, linear, and unidimensional to me. Wearable, yes, but not compelling to my nose.

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