Perfume Reviews by sherapop

Louanges Profanes 19 by Parfumerie Generale

I do not believe that it is only because of the opening phoneme, but Parfumerie Generale LOUANGES PROFANES strikes me as vaguely reminiscent of the Keiko Mecheri LOUKHOUM series. I am working from memory here, having fully drained all three of my LOUKHOUM samples quite some time ago, but looking at the notes I do see that both contain, in addition to a huge dollop of creamy sweetness, hawthorn.

This is a very beautiful and complex oriental floral perfume, which altogether avoids the usual clichés and rampant fads, above all, vanilla patchouli. I find this composition much more oriental than floral, and the benzoin-rich drydown is simply scrumptious, with serious addiction potential!

Interestingly enough, other reviewers (at The Other Site), have compared LOUANGES to another perfume with the same opening phoneme, LOULOU! However, since I do not suffer the unmistakeable LOULOU plastic-madness headache upon donning this far more compelling and appealing creation, I must respectfully disagree...
31st October 2011

Liaisons Dangereuses, typical me by By Kilian

Why in the world does Kilian LIAISONS DANGEREUSES smell initially like a crisp floral green on my skin? Honestly, I am baffled. These are apparently the notes:

coconut flesh, prune absolute, plum, black currant bud absolute, crystallised peach, cinnamon bark oil, ambrette seed absolute, Damascus rose, Bourbon geranium, Australian sandalwood oil, oakmoss extract, Javanese vetiver oil, clear woods and white musks.

Somehow the above conspire in the opening to alchemically produce the olfactory illusion of hyacinth! Eventually a plummy quality comes through, but it is definitely not sweet--more like stewed compote with no sugar added. To my nose, the dominant floral is geranium (not rose) from start to finish, but this perfume always seems rather green to me, albeit much less so in the drydown, when it begins to smell more and more like a plum-rich analogue to YVRESSE.

All in all, this is an interesting composition, which I may try again in the future, under different conditions of weather, mood, and planetary motion.

Update: according to Aedes, coconut does not number among the notes, and I do not smell coconut, so perhaps the recipe has changed?
30th October 2011


Life Threads: Silver by La Prairie

It's impossible to wear Life Threads SILVER without thinking of FRACAS, which is bad news for SILVER, since FRACAS is pretty difficult to beat, if über-feminine tuberose is what you're after. Although there are accompaniments such as neroli and jasmine here, towering tuberose is the focus in SILVER as in FRACAS. I find SILVER tamer and a bit better behaved, or at least less extroverted than the bigger than life, bright and juicy diva tuberose of FRACAS, which draws attention to the wearer by following her around with a blazing spotlight.

Although SILVER may be regarded by some as an inferior copy of FRACAS, I must say that I really did enjoy wearing it this afternoon. There is none of the thick, heavy, wilting tuberose nor the pseudotuberose found in some less noble "tuberose" perfumes. In this composition everything smells fresh and well-measured from start to finish, and the longevity is great, as is true of all of the Life Threads perfumes I've tried. Whether one likes these heavy floral compositions or not, no one can reasonably accuse this house of dilution.

All of that said, I probably will not be adding SILVER to my collection because, well, I have tons of FRACAS!
30th October 2011

Life Threads: Gold by La Prairie

Upon applying LIFE THREADS GOLD, a perfume masquerading as an edp, I immediately caught a waft of ANGEL, and then POISON, and then basically all of the Big Fat Floral Fragrances of the 1980s rolled together into one overwhelming and EPA-inimical package.

Yes, indeed, this is a big, loud, powerhouse oriental floral perfume launched thirty years too late! Everything is here: the purple fruit (plum), the near-toxic concentration of already very potent spices (clove, pepper, cinnamon), the huge billowy flowers which fill the room and may suffocate some among those present who happen to be standing too close to the wearer. And just in case anyone is still not satisfied, there's even myrrh!

Needless to say: this stuff is strong. Not for me, above all, because of the purple fruits and clove: vraiment de trop! (The bathtub is beckoning...) Might work for someone who was weaned on POISON. For everyone else, this product should carry a prominently displayed headache advisory warning label.
29th October 2011

L'Eau d'Ambre Extrême / Ambre Extrême by L'Artisan Parfumeur

AMBER UNADORNED might be a better name for AMBRE EXTREME, but I will say that this AP composition does have slightly better longevity than the typical offerings of this house. The problem with presenting a base such as amber with few other notes as embellishments is that there is a very real risk of boredom. To me, AMBRE EXTREME seems a bit like amber on sedatives: polite and calm.

The amber in this composition smells smooth, slightly sweet, and generally pleasant, but it leaves me wanting something more. I learned from reading a page from Ellena's forthcoming book (using the "look inside" app. at amazon) that vanillin generally features in labdanum amber (not animalic ambergris...) constructions, which would seem to imply that it does not add anything to this creation, in particular, beyond what already counts as a part of the amber itself.

Having worn AMBRE EXTREME for a while this evening, long enough to grasp that it was indeed a minimalist creation without any of the distractions which tend to make oriental perfumes so interesting, I reached for my bottle of BAL A VERSAILLES, with which it was of course fully compatible, being essentially part of the base of that perfume.

I am sure that this fragrance has its following, but as far as amber perfumes are concerned, I myself am more of a Robert Piguet BAGHARI type. If asked to select a J-C Ellena amber, I would definitely opt for AMBRE NARGUILE, which seems to me considerably more appealing than this one.
28th October 2011

Life Threads: Platinum by La Prairie

I have always harbored a negative prejudice against companies such as La Prairie which tout something as gimmicky as caviar as the basis of their entire skincare line, but I must say that I am delightfully surprised by my first foray into their perfume offerings. Happily, they had the good sense not to extend their caviar obsession to their new fragrance line...

LIFE THREADS PLATINUM is a gorgeous, complex and rich floral chypre perfume, occupying the same general olfactory neighborhood as LA PERLA. PLATINUM offers a touch of leather and a slightly lower dose of patchouli, but the labdanum and floral symphony here is simply exquisite! PLATINUM, like LA PERLA, has more of a modern and comforting feeling than some of the colder, classic, green chypres. This composition offers the snuggliness of a high-quality oriental perfume along with the texture and depth of a chypre. I love it!

In addition to being beautiful, PLATINUM also has fairly big sillage and good longevity. On my wish list!
28th October 2011

Encre Noire by Lalique

Speaking of Iso E Super, Lalique ENCRE NOIRE appears to contain quite a bit of the magical molecule, but before you get to that big projection, very longlasting drydown, you must contend with the opening.

To me, more than ink, ENCRE NOIRE evokes memories of the somewhat strange smell of toner cartridges. Now, to some people that may sound like a real turn-off, but to those such as myself who always loved the scent of gasoline coming out of the nozzle at the pump and also that of freshly printed glossy-paged books, it's not really bad at all and even possesses an inexplicable attractive power. In fact, I can see why this fragrance has garnered such a loyal following: the opening "inky" odor may actually be as addictive as is sniffing glue! From there, the Iso E Super-saturated vetiver arrives on the scene and since it, too, appears to be addictive, well, there you have it: double addiction potential!

I myself find ENCRE NOIRE interesting, but I do believe that my cells would recoil were I to don this composition except very infrequently. Now and then for the novelty, yes. But it could never be a part of a regular rotation for me, and I definitely understand why some people have been lamenting the fantastic popularity of this creation. I could see it getting old very quickly, say, if all of my colleagues wore it to work. The longevity and projection verge on obnoxious, if overapplied, as some people probably do...
27th October 2011

Encre Noire pour Elle by Lalique

Although I do not believe that Lalique ENCRE NOIRE POUR ELLE is a bad fragrance, I also do not find it all that memorable. Part of the disappointment may derive from what I regard as the house's mistake of naming this creation as a flanker to the male version, ENCRE NOIRE, which does have a unique personality and develops through very distinct stages (whether one happens to like them or not...). In contrast, POUR ELLE seems a bit vague and linear, yet another somewhat thin, lightly woody floriental among hundreds. I find this composition wearable but inoffensive to the point of being forgettable.

While the original ENCRE NOIRE prominently features Iso Super E, the female version is said to contain Kephalis, a synthetic molecule whose acquaintance I have not made elsewhere (at least to my knowledge...). I wish that this composition contained more ambrette, which I do not detect at all. Instead, this seems to me like a somewhat generic, ever-so-slightly soapy (in the drydown) lightly woody rose.

Even the formerly beautiful bottle of the original ENCRE NOIRE has been marred by the over-the-top wedding invitation script used on this flanker. Kind of a sad metaphor on Adam's rib: an afterthought.
27th October 2011

Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules

I scoffed when I learned of these one-note aromachemical wonders being sold as niche perfumes, but I must say that I am pleasantly surprised at how this one smells. I was motivated to finally give my sample of MOLECULE 01 a trial run by my discovery last night at Aedes that this is actually their #8 seller!

MOLECULE 01 reminds very much of many fine vetiver fragrances, the explanation for which, apparently, is that this chemical is so often incorporated in such compositions. Honestly this smells so familiar that I feel that I have worn it before–and it seems that I have: many times! Here the scent is uncluttered by anything else and offers no more and no less than a pleasant woodiness. Now I finally understand why the perfumer came up with the idea of bottling iso-E-super as a niche: it fits in perfectly with the trend of inoffensive, friendly, clean and gentle office-ready colognes being sold today.

Although I would never purchase any single aromachemical in a bottle marked up to niche prices, I am happy to have had the opportunity to try this one and hopefully will be able to recognize the presence of iso-E-super–the now not-so-secret ingredient–in more complex perfumes in the future.
26th October 2011

Jessica McClintock by Jessica McClintock

JESSICA MCCLINTOCK reminds me of barbie dolls. Not the sort of perfume which curvaceous Barbie herself might don–wouldn't she really prefer ANGEL?–but the sort of fragrance which little girls who play with Barbies might wear. Little girls being groomed by their housewife mothers to become good housewives one day. They also have Easy Bake Ovens and little bottles of nail polish, like the toddler daughters of a former colleague of mine. He brought them to work with him one day (his wife must have had an appointment at the beauty parlor), and I was a bit taken aback that these little girls, barely able to talk, had chipped polish on their tiny little fingernails. Small wonder that nearly half a century after the ratification of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women in this country still earn only 77 cents on the dollar paid to an equally qualified man for performing the very same work. But I digress...

The flowers here smell more like lilacs than anything else to me, but all in all, this composition strikes me as quite juvenile and not romantic at all. The manufacturer's card boasts that this perfume is "the fragrance that whispers romance...," but to me it just whispers: "Shut up and go clean your room!"
25th October 2011

Contradiction by Calvin Klein

It has taken me about, let's see, fourteen years to figure out Calvin Klein CONTRADICTION, but I do believe that I just had a breakthrough: this perfume is an aromatic pseudo-chypre! This evening I decided to pull out from the back of my armoire the long languishing cylinder hiding quietly in its sleek matte aluminum sheath, having been reminded of its existence by a soothing eucalyptus-spearmint bath courtesy of the BBW Aromatherapy line. Since I even used the eucalyptus hair conditioner, which remains fragrant long after rinsing, my compatible perfume choices were severely limited. But then it popped into my mind: Calvin Klein CONTRADICTION, the only perfume in my collection with a significant eucalyptus component.

There's probably a reason why perfumers do not often reach for eucalyptus, and the mixed reception to this creation, the sole member of the classic CK collection to have been discontinued (at least to my knowledge...), may have a lot to do with it. CONTRADICTION is so unexpected and just plain weird that I strongly suspect that were it poured into a Serge Lutens bottle with a new label slapped on, say, NUAGES VERTES-GRISATRES, it would be sought out and perhaps even worshipped by countless niche-ees (no, not Nietzsche, though my understanding is that he did spend some time in Eze, along a path that I myself walked to Grasse–so who knows? Perhaps he, too, really loved perfume and his pilgrimage to the environs of Eze led to the perfume capital of the world as well? On ne sait jamais.) But I digress...

While coming to terms once again with CONTRADICTION, the donning of which is always an event in itself because it is so very ODD, it dawned on my that the extreme eccentricity of this composition reminds me very much of SJP COVET. No, not the notes or even the structure of the compositions: the two are completely different. But they are united in their extreme, obstinate refusal to respect the orthodox genres of perfume, in addition to their fundamentally "challenging" demeanor. It takes some time to come to an appreciation of these perfumes. Those who are looking for instant gratification need not apply, because these creations are really quite demanding. I have no doubt that many a sniffer gave them a quick whiff and then summarily dismissed them, relegating them forever to their own private dustbin of olfactory history. In the case of CONTRADICTION, the orchid, lily, eucalyptus, and about a million other notes together produce an utterly unique creation, like nothing else I've ever smelled. Yet it's not the perfumic equivalent to a garbage pizza. No, not at all. An appealing chypre texture and strangely harmonic effect ultimately arise out of what might at first seem to be sheer cacophony.

Surprise: I was delighted to discover just now (after having compared the two C's in my mind...) that the perfumer who produced this radically other perfume is none other than...drum roll...Ann Gottlieb: the creator of COVET! Brava, cara! I am truly impressed!

Ordinarily, according to my own explicitly stated evaluation criteria (in my profile), I would only be able to give a thumbs up to a perfume in my collection which I had every intention of replenishing, but my 100ml bottle of CONTRADICTION remains one-third full after, well, fourteen years. No matter: I'm going to contradict my own evaluation scheme in honor of this splendidly original perfume.
24th October 2011

Buddha's Fig by Infusion Organique

Infusion Organique BUDDHA'S FIG is a fine organic fig perfume with more of a woody than either a fruity or a leafy green demeanor (as in Jo Malone WILD FIG & CASSIS). There is also an ever-so-light touch of florality, but this is definitely a unisex creation from start to finish. The rose geranium serves more to smooth out the wood rather than anything else. The floral effect is very subtle here, unlike many perfumes in which rose geranium figures.

The opening of BUDDHA'S FIG has a bit too much lemongrass oil for my taste--so much so that it actually irritates my neck a bit, but once it dries down, this composition is really quite nice and ranks among the best fig perfumes I've tried. I actually prefer this combination of notes to both AP PREMIER FIGUIER and Hermès UN JARDIN EN MEDITERRANEE, which are in some ways similar... The sillage is on the medium-low side, and I find the longevity quite good for an all-natural perfume.

23rd October 2011

Wild Fig & Cassis by Jo Malone London

Jo Malone WILD FIG & CASSIS smells to me rather like a bunch of fig leaves and grass blades thrown in a blender. Very, very green and fairly sharp as well, especially in the opening minutes. Is this composition sweet at all? No. The fig leaf is featured, not the fruit nor the wood.

Here are the notes I found at another site:
Top notes are cassis, cherry and grass; middle notes are hyacinth, cyclamen, jasmine and pine tree; base notes are patchouli, cedar, amber and musk.

To my nose, the grass, fig leaf and hyacinth together conspire to make this a very green experience indeed, although I do not detect the pine as an isolable note–which is probably a good thing in this case... Fig is clearly the focus, especially in the drydown (which is quite a bit less sharp than the opening), but there is a huge amount of greenishness to this cologne from start to finish! In the opening minutes, I am even reminded a bit of the discontinued BELEAF, by The Body Shop–although that composition lacked fig. This composition, too, is fully unisex, even leaning a bit toward the masculine side.

The longevity of WILD FIG AND CASSIS is as to be expected from Jo Malone, but if green fig leaves are what you're really after, then this natural-smelling cologne may serve you well! Not for me.
23rd October 2011

Drôle de Rose by L'Artisan Parfumeur

The combination of honey, rose, and purple flowers in AP DROLE DE ROSE makes it impossible for me to wear this perfume without thinking of Jean-Charles Brosseau OMBRE ROSE. True, the AP composition does not open with a somewhat off-putting blast of powder and aldehydes, but the drydown has a similar sort of charm.

Imagine a trunk filled with taffetta and tulle. Dig around a bit, and you may even find a tutu and some pink satin toe shoes with long silken ribbons for lacing up over leotards. The trunk's lining has been dusted with talcum powder to preserve everything inside. DROLE DE ROSE gestures in the direction of this nouveau-vintage image, but stops short. OMBRE ROSE, in contrast, goes all the way.
22nd October 2011

Eau du Gouverneur / L'Homme by Comptoir Sud Pacifique

For some reason I find the made for men or unisex creations of the house of Comptoir Sud Pacifique *much* better than the blunt and literal feminine perfumes. L'EAU DU GOUVERNEUR is an excellent example and may even be my favorite CSP offering of all (of those I've tried...).

This smooth woody oriental perfume (and I do believe that it is 100% unisex--not a masculine cologne, by any stretch of the imagination) features a variety of very hard-hitting spices, most notably nutmeg and allspice, but they are blended so beautifully that none overwhelms, as so often happens when such spices are used in perfume. The slightly citrus opening is very shortlived, and the composition nearly immediately settles down to a gorgeous, tightly woven tapestry of spices and woods with medium sillage and good longevity.

L'EAU DU GOUVERNEUR (or in my case, GOUVERNEUSE!) is perfect for fall weather and makes me want to stroll down a path strewn with piles of multicolored leaves being jostled about by a cool breeze.
22nd October 2011

Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum by Aedes de Venustas

The panoply of notes listed in three distinct tiers for AEDES DE VENUSTAS portend something wild and complex, with both heft and depth, but unfortunately I myself find this perfume not all that exciting. Everything seems to be blended down to a sort of common-denominator incense cologne rather than offering a rich perfumic experience. This composition seems fairly linear to me, which is not in and of itself a demerit, but the citrus note turns a bit sour on my skin. Perhaps it is the combination of coffee and orange oil which is less than harmonious here?

AdV may well smell wonderful to (and on..) some, but it's not for me.
21st October 2011

La Haie Fleurie du Hameau by L'Artisan Parfumeur

In keeping with the extreme minimalism and linearity which I've come to associate with much of Jean-Claude Ellena's work, LA HAIE FLEURIE hits me as a straightforward jasmine soliflore. This one is right in the middle of the genre: not too dry and not too indolic. There may be loads of other notes in here, but honestly what I smell is jasmine--not honeysuckle, nor tuberose, nor x, y, or z...!

If I needed another jasmine soliflore, I'd definitely consider adding this creation to my collection, but I don't, so I won't, especially since this one has rather poor longevity for what it is... Usually jasmine soliflores last virtually forever on my skin (well, at least until my next bath), but not this one.

Smells lovely--while it lasts!
21st October 2011

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

Comme des Garçons AVIGNON is an incredibly beautiful incense perfume. I am very pleasantly surprised, having been somewhat disappointed by a couple of the other members of this series I've tried. Why is this one so much better to my nose? I suppose because it's a full-fledged, complex perfumic composition, as opposed to a solution of finely ground incense...

Here are the notes I found at another site:
several kinds of incense, chamomile, vanilla, patchouli, rosewood and ambrette.

Small wonder I'm smitten! Ambrette probably puts this over the top from like to love for me. Who knew that a relatively linear incense perfume could be a serious wrist sniffer? For the record, this does not smell like a musty old Catholic church to me. No, on the contrary, AVIGNON smells like something which clearly belongs on my wish list: a gorgeous oriental woody perfume!
20th October 2011

Kenzo Peace Vintage Edition by Kenzo

Kenzo PEACE VINTAGE is primarily a clean musk composition. The musk really does dominate, but it is light and limpid rather than dark and skanky. There is a sort of sweet-soapy quality to this creation, as self-contradictory as that might at first seem. Although I am reminded a bit of cherry blossom or osmanthus, I believe that the effect in this case is caused by the give and take between the heliotrope and the woods, on the one side, and the vanilla and tonka, on the other.

Still, because all of the non-musk components are so gentle, PEACE seems to me in some ways more like a base or an aromatherapeutic scent than a full-fledged perfume. I'm fairly optimistic that PEACE will blend well with other creations, so I'm going to trying mixing this with CdG ZAGORSK, which to my nose (or on my skin...) has the opposite problem: nearly all incense, virtually no moderating base...
20th October 2011

Citizen Queen by Juliette Has a Gun

On my skin, CITIZEN QUEEN opens rather unpleasantly, with a somewhat stinky, rank quality similar to what I imagine would be the scent of a person who went camping for a few days with no access to running water and decided to "freshen up" with some talcum powder and breath mints.

The drydown of this perfume smells quite nice, smooth and almost ambery, and the unpleasant animalic quality has dissipated (along with the hygienic deodorant masking aids). My impression from the other reviewers' comments is that this is one of those compositions where skin chemistry places a big role.

Not for me, but might be great (and apparently it is...) on the right person.
18th October 2011

Calamity J by Juliette Has a Gun

With the cooler weather descending upon us, I've been anxious to compare some of the amber perfumes in my queue, and Juliette Has a Gun CALAMITY JANE is a nice one! This relatively simple blend primarily features patchouli and amber to my nose–I don't really detect the iris distinctly–but what a lovely blend it is! Smooth and golden and resinous and seductive...

This composition is not all that original–I have sniffed a couple of other niche perfumes inhabiting the same neighborhood–but I guess that just goes to show that high-quality patchouli and amber notes marry well! It seems to me that when a simple yet compelling combination is meant to be, then multiple perfumers are bound to come up with it eventually.

I would love to have a bottle of CALAMITY JANE... This perfume has good longevity and perfect wintertime sillage: warms up on the skin to waft up the neck of a snuggly sweater. Definitely unisex.
16th October 2011

Harrods Amber by Bond No. 9

I am fairly sure that lots of people will be complaining that Bond no 9 HARRODS AMBER does not smell like amber, but I'm not going to do that, since I happen to believe that we have a surfeit of straight-up amber perfumes available today. (-; Somehow this vast assortment of characteristically potent oriental notes–including myrrh, saffron, nutmeg, pepper, and oud–together produce (alchemically?) a hugely boozy effect on my skin.

Honestly, I feel as though I just went out for an all-night bout of drinking–specifically of dark brown spirits such as scotch. Not at all what I was expecting, but anyone who is looking for a seriously boozy scent should give this one a sniff. Big sillage and impressive longevity, so if you happen to like this kind of composition, you're in luck! As for me, it's high time that I sobered up with a long overdue triple expresso...
16th October 2011

Miss Charming by Juliette Has a Gun

A light fruity-rose perfume with more rose than fruit, MISS CHARMING reminds me a bit of Annick Goutal QUEL AMOUR (which in addition to being fruitier also offers a big dose of rose geranium to back up the rose) and a bit less of Ineke BRIAR ROSE (which has a deep, wine-like fruitiness). The fruits in this composition, in contrast, are very low key.

According to the card accompanying my sample of MISS CHARMING, the primary notes are "rose marocaine, muscs, fruits des bois". As far as I know, lychee is not a "fruit des bois", and I also do not smell detectable strawberry here (as listed in the bn notes). Basically the fruits in this composition serve only to moderate the rose, adding a touch of sweetness and creating a perfume obviously geared toward a younger clientele.

MISS CHARMING does bloom quite a bit, producing a lovely bouquet of roses by the drydown, making this much more of a floral than a fruity perfume to my nose. I like MISS CHARMING, but not enough to acquire a bottle for myself, though it might make a good gift for someone else...
15th October 2011

Lady Vengeance by Juliette Has a Gun

Juliette Has a Gun LADY VENGEANCE naturally sets up expectations with its name and, yes, they are dashed. This does not strike me as an intense composition at all. Instead, it's perfectly tame and well-behaved. A pleasant blend of rose, vanilla and patchouli, this polite perfume would probably suit anyone looking for a modern rose. The blend is very smooth and not too sweet, and in contrast to many recent launches, the patchouli here is very measured. I would say that the quality is on a par with some of the Rosine rose perfumes.

I like LADY VENGEANCE, but she has not captured my heart. Perhaps she's just too nice?
14th October 2011