Lys 41 by Le Labo

I was having a lily craving this spring so I ordered a couple of lily scents to compare. This one takes the cake, as far as recreating the experience of having a vase full of lilies in the house.

It does a great job emulating the sweet, heady, almost tactile scent of lilies that can completely take over a space. It does not achieve photo realistic likeness; but uses other flowers as well as a spiced, sweetened vanilla to create that luscious, thick, full bodied scent that typifies lilies. Smelled side by side with the real thing, the opening of Malle's Lys Mediterranée comes closer, but in overall feel, Lys 41 is my favourite.

Jasmin Antique by Rogue Perfumery

Now this is a nose grabber!

My new favourite jasmine scent does the magical thing I've always looked for in a jasmine scent; it recreates the experience of walking past a flowering jasmine bush in a mediterranean country on a late summer's eve. It scents the air around me with airy clouds of the most delectable floral scent; a touch indolic, a hint of soapiness, rich, heady, almost jammy, yet light and fresh too. It's a hyperrealistic experience that lasts all day. Every time I catch a whiff it gives me a little jolt of excitement and I want to breathe in till my lungs burst.

Interestingly, when smelled up close I detect different facets (spices, vanilla, lemon), depending on how much I spray, but in the air around me all these facets come together to form nothing but the purest jasmine impression. Wearing this makes me feel as if I'm being followed around by a jasmine bush in full bloom all day, and even the next morning I keep getting little puffs.

This is my absolute favourite from Rogue's line up, 10/10!

Jabu by Mona di Orio

I unexpectedly like this one! The opening is a bright orange blossom with a hint of zesty lemon, which is quickly followed by a transition to a heart of honey; consisting of a sweet, non-pissy, pollen laden honey note supported by ylang and orange blossom. The base turns powdery, but remains interesting due to juxtaposition of citric acidity and dusty sweetness. It's simple but effective, and the result is a sunny, easy to wear sweety.

Terracotta Le Parfum by Guerlain

This seems to be a bit of a step child in the Guerlain line up of great classics; a recent release, cheap, not available for half the year and barely talked about whenever this venerable house is discussed. Now me and Guerlain is not the easiest of matches; I admire their offerings but I find many of them hard to wear. Case in point: my bottle of Mitsouko doesn't come out of the fragrance drawer often. Shalimar I only own for reference. I love Vol de Nuit but I'm not brave enough to throw myself into the craziness that is the vintage Guerlain market. L'Heure Bleue and Jicky I admire from afar. Samsara is the classic that suits me best, but it's loud and quite sweet and I have to be in the mood for it.

So my most worn Guerlain, by a mile, is the overlooked, tropical delight that is Terracotta. It's not a fragrance that would show up in my lists of favourites; it's not even my favourite tropical floral, that honour goes to the much more arresting Moon Bloom. Yet I wear it ridiculously often; it is my work horse summer scent. So why is that? One reason is that it does what it does so very well. It's a quintessential, tropical, beachy, summer floral. All the notes that should be present in such a scent are present: creamy ylang, subtle tuberose, orange blossom and jasmine form the heart, resting on a bed of vanilla and some well dosed (that is, sparingly) and not plasticky coconut. The headiness of the flowers and the sweetness of the base is balanced out by some bergamot that turns almost lime like, as if your fancy summer cocktail is within reach. It speaks of golden beaches, suntan-lotion, and smooth salty skin. It's just so fucking pretty and uplifting that I keep grabbing it over and over again, burning through my big bottle at a speed that none of my favourites can boast of. I already know that another bottle will follow it when it's empty.

So is this what people sometimes refer to as a 'dumb reach'? No it's not. It's far too good to be called that. It may not be the most original or complex of scents but it doesn't have to be. It's pretty, it's delicious, and it makes me happy.

New Look 1947 by Christian Dior

This is one I only discovered because of a free sample I received with a purchase and I'm glad I did. It is one of the scents that made me rethink my dislike for tuberose (turns out I love it).

This, to my nose, is a good humoured, sophisticated, well-behaved lemony tuberose; its more sleazy and heady aspects neatly covered by a fine dusting of powder. Underneath the prim and proper exterior lies a balmy, almost resinous warmth of vanilla and benzoin, which keeps the scent from turning too preppy or icy. At times this warm base reminds me of Ormonde Jayne's Tolu.

In my line up of tuberose scents, this is the most well manicured one; one you can take home to meet the parents, shall we say. It's also one of the few tuberoses that works better in colder weather.

Qi by Ormonde Jayne

My wallet dispairs a little every time I discover a new Ormonde Jayne fragrance, because more often than not I end up loving them. I never would have given this the time of day, as it sounds a bit too polite and light for my tastes, but my interest was piqued when I visited the OJ store to sniff their candles (which are fantastic, by the way).

I ended up getting a sample because I could not get this delicate beauty out of my head; a breezy tea and citrus affair with, to my nose, plenty of apricotty osmanthus. It's achieves a fine balance between floral, fresh, and bitter and is airy without being unsubstantial at all. It lasts and projects impressively for such a delicate fragrance; I get addictive, mood lifting wafts of it all day. I find Ormonde Jayne one of the most consistently impressive houses out there and will be saving up to add this to my collection. I bet it will be spectacular in spring.

Privé by Ormonde Jayne

It's a rare thing, an Ormonde Jayne fragrance I do not quite get on with, but here it is. Privé seems to be an amalgamation of pretty much every typical OJ note; tea, citrus, dry woods, flowers, iris, vanilla, you name it, it's there.

I thoroughly like all of these notes, a lot of which are recognisable from other OJ fragrances. I even like them together; they're well blended, a s per usual and the resulting scent has that dry chiqueness that is Ormonde's signature. The problem is that this seems to be the fragrance where perfumer Geza Schoen has gone overboard with some woody aromachemical or other. I normally very much enjoy the way he uses things like Iso E Super in this line (i.e., restrained, never the focus, but very effective), but in this scent there's some radiant, dry, woody note that just takes over and overpowers all the other notes.

My nose seems particularly sensitive to one or more of the popular woody aroma chemicals (I smell nothing but an incredibly radiant alcohol like note in Sauvage, for example), so I think this is causing the problem here. I suspect for someone who's nose is tuned differently, this could be a fantastic scent

Prima T by Bruno Acampora

Like others before me have stated so eloquently: This is a Perfume.

What a gorgeous, big, bold, sophisticated creature is Prima T. A floral chypre in the classical tradition, this scent distinguishes itself by that no holds barred, root-and-stem approach to botanicals that typifies the Acampora style. Their perfumes, especially the ones from the 70s, perfectly walk the line between complex, classic perfumery and something more raw and earthy.

In the case of Prima T, this results in a wild, green blast of florals, underpinned by a brisk, bitter-soapy backbone. The jasmine shines in this composition, and it's the same ferocious variety as in Jasmine T. Due to impeding IFRA restrictions on the use of jasmine and the repackaging that has recently swept the Acampora brand I finally bit the bullet and bought an EdP in the old canister package. It's every bit as gorgeous as the perfume oil with more projection, so it's one where a light trigger finger is required.

Lilylang by Sylvaine Delacourte

It's weird to be wearing this in the middle of winter as this is the epitome of a tropical suntan lotion floral. It opens with a burst of bright bergamot and lime, quickly followed by a sweet ylang, thickened with tuberose. To my nose, this falls in the same category as Terracotta and Bronze Goddess, although the coconut is notably absent in this floral, which I appreciate, as it keeps a freshness that many coconut florals are sorely lacking. There's musk in here, but it's not too prominent.

I like this a lot and will keep this sample for summer.

Vangelis by Sylvaine Delacourte

This is nice! A peppery, dry, barely sweetened vanilla. I'm surprised that the note pyramid does not include tea, as I'm getting a very clear tea impression, which probably comes from a combination of other bitter and smokey notes. The clove is subtle and warm.

Tsarina Intensivo by Ormonde Jayne

Since there are very few reviews available for this version of Tsarina, I thought I'd go ahead and add one as a public service:

I got to know Tsarina in the regular strength version and it's become one of my favourites. It's the smoothest powdery veil of luxury and sophistication as a scent; a perfectly balanced mixture of coolness and warmth. The brighter top notes provide lift, keeping the mix of labdanum, vanilla and musk underneath from turning heady. It somehow feels weighty and weightless at the same time, with an undercurrent of skin like warmth. It's Grace Kelly in exotic furs; cool elegance on the outside, with depth and character shimmering underneath the well-mannered facade.

Tsarina Intensivo is pretty much what it promises to be; Tsarina, but stronger and more concentrated, and as such, this version of the scent is slightly more dense than the original. I don't think Tsarina needs a stronger version per se; it's plenty strong as is, but for those who like their fragrances to pack a punch; this certainly does.

Sunshine Woman by Amouage

My first thought upon trying this, is that it is Amouage's entry in the fruitchouli department; stone fruits over a patchouli that falls somewhere between clean and dirty. There's a dry, non-smokey tobacco note that keeps it interesting and wearable, which, for me, is a rare thing in this fragrance category. Points for Amouage, but so far, nothing extraordinary.

After 15 minutes or so I start to get a strong sense of deja vu; there's something incredibly familiar about this scent, it reminds me of the 90s, of something I definitely smelled before, of something I've worn before. Like, I get flashbacks of gaseous clouds hanging over my high school gym's girls' locker room. Hold on, wait a second, THIS SMELLS LIKE PURPLE IMPULSE BODY SPRAY CIRCA 1994!!! Whoaa, it really, REALLY does! And now that I've made that connection it cannot be unmade; I smell like an upscale version of purple impulse body spray. It's a trip, I'll tell you that. I'll keep the sample for whenever I'm in the mood for feeling like my 13 year old self again (which is probably never).

Narcotic V / Narcotic Venus by Nasomatto

On paper, I got a big, bright, slightly sweet tuberose, which made me happy. On skin, however, it doesn't work out for me.

It opens with a big, meaty tuberose, with lots of bubblegum like sweetness and some soft spices. It doesn't have the greenness of Carnal Flower, or the tropical, lush headiness of Moon Bloom. It's more of a perfumey floral mix, led by the tuberose. What ruins it for me is the presence of a woody aroma chemical of some description. I don't know which one it is that bothers me, but when I encounter it it is unmistakable. I first recognize it by its expansive, nose tingling quality, which is closely followed by a strong alcohol scent, like ripping open a sachet containing an alcoholic wipe. In Narcotic V its use is subtle (unlike, say in Sauvage, where it's all I can smell), but it's distracting enough to bother me. The clash between the fleshiness of the tuberose and this sterile alcohol note is just weird and unpleasant. I suppose if this particular woody aroma chemical doesn't bother you this may be a very nice tuberose, but I'll stick to other options.

ps: this fragrance is the olfactory equivalent of miss Piggy; a blonde and pink diva that is a little bit obnoxious.

pps: it gets better in the deep dry down .

Jour d'Hermès by Hermès

This is a rare dislike for a Hermès fragrance for me. I was in store and had one hand left to test on, so I just grabbed this to try. It is not good on my skin. At. All. Ignore the confusing 1 note pyramid; this is a citrus scent. An unpleasantly dry, arid citrus scent. No idea what kind of citrus it is exactly, maybe a severely dehydrated grapefruit? The poor thing is completely parched and devoid of any pleasure whatsoever. Something I imagine a humourless medieval monk would wear.

*edit: dessicated, that's the word I was looking for!

Slowdive by Hiram Green

This is a most arresting fragrance; honey unlike any kind you find at your average supermarket. Instead, it's a reminder that bees are, in fact, wild animals. I've once had a swarm of bumblebees nesting in my ceiling, and let me tell you, the sound that comes from hundreds and hundreds of these flying beauties is quite terrifying. As is Slowdive, but in a good way. It's raw, thick, and almost overwhelmingly sweet; honey with waxy comb, pollen, and a few angry bees still stuck in it. It reminds me of a jar of chestnut honey my mother once brought from Italy that was so intense that it could not be eaten undiluted, but it was absolutely heavenly in dishes and pies. I have a similar experience with Slowdive: it's a bit too much for me up close, but from a distance it is just gorgeous, especially the dry down. A little goes a long way with this stuff; I think a 10ml travel spray would last me a lifetime.

Dilettante by Hiram Green

My my, Mr. Green has a way with flowers!

Just like his Moon Bloom is my favorite tuberose, Dilettante is the very best orange blossom I have ever smelled. It is, to my nose, perfection.

It smells like an orange grove at sunset; the green of leaves, the bitterness of bark, soft flower petals, a hint of citrusy tartness, the oiliness of rinds, the honeyd wax of a bee hive in the trees, it is all there, drenched in an golden orange light. It is saturated, yet light, and very uplifting.

Wearing this reminds me that life is beautiful.

I tremble at the thought of what this perfumer could do with other flowers, let's say rose, or jasmine...

La Chasse aux Papillons by L'Artisan Parfumeur

This is a lovely, delicate entryway white floral; the perfect gateway drug for someone like me who had a Big White Floral scare early on in their fragrance career. FYI: I've gotten over my white floral phobia fast, and am now completely ok with the original offender; Carnal Flower.

Back to La Chasse aux Papillons: It is the tenderest tuberose paired with perfectly pitched orange blossom (not too sweet, not too soapy); dewy, fresh and airy without ever being pedestrian or overly clean. I have a linden plant at home, and although I don't think its blossoms smell like much (maybe linden tree blossom has more of a smell?) but this fragrance does remind me of those beautiful linden leaves, which have the most delicate, translucent yet bright spring-green hue.

Wearing this makes me very happy today.

Moon Bloom by Hiram Green

This is my perfect tuberose. Full stop. I ordered a sample to round out a sample deal, not expecting much at all, and was completely bowled over by this scent. I am not a tuberose or white floral fan in general, but this fragrance has converted me.

It goes on VERY strong, which had me scared for just a few seconds, but the scent is so good that it actually becomes a plus. This is definitely a tuberose-centric perfume, and the flower is presented in all its heady, indolic, tropical glory. There is a touch of pissiness (in a good way), and a touch of humid swampiness (again, in a good way). It has tropical sweetness that reminds me of coconut, but it's certainly not of the sickly sweet, synthetic variety, and it blends perfectly with a golden ylang note to play a supporting role to the glorious tuberose. There is also some green in this scent, which intensifies the lush, tropical forest impression Moon Bloom conjures up.

Despite its potent opening, Moon Bloom is not a loud or overbearing scent at all. It wears quite linear, which I don't mind at all, and it's very, very long lasting.

The first few times I tried this it was still freezing cold and wearing this instantly transported me to a hot, humid summer nights. I can't wait to try this in the summer heat, I expect it will be fantastic.

Sex and the Sea by Francesca Bianchi

Oh dear, this was the big fail that I didn't see coming. I ordered samples of all Francesca's fragrances after reading glowing reviews of her latest scent, Under my skin here on basenotes. I was expecting good things.

What I got was a thick, intrusive wall of something indescribably off-putting. My brain seems unable to break down what's going on because all my instincts screamed "abort mission!" whenever I put my nose to my wrist. At times I got whiffs of things that, in and of themselves, are inoffensive or even pleasant: coconutty sun tan lotion, something sandalwoody, something fruity, something salty, but the sum of these parts repulsed me in a way no other scent I've tried so far ever has, including my nemesis Angel with it's putrefied dishrag accord.

I agree with gimmegreen's description of the scent's clagginess; it has an unpleasantly thick, oily texture that becomes more and more prominent over time. I had a spray of Angel's Dust on my other wrist when testing this, and even though it's less offensive, it has a similarly off-putting dry down. I think may be a house style.

What I can say in its favor is that this fragrance is unique; I truly know nothing else that smells like this. It is also very long lasting; 1 spray to the wrist lasted all day, and resisted several attempts to wash it off. The remnants of it even managed to overpower my liberal application of Azuree.

Perhaps I should give this scent a second try, but I don't think I'm brave enough to do it. My aversion to this scent is so strong that I now dread retesting the two remaining samples I have of this house, even though I already tried them briefly earlier this week and didn't hate them. Oh well, you win some you lose some, and I'm sure there will be people who appreciate this scent more than I did.

No. 18 Eau de Toilette by Chanel

There's nothing that smells like No. 18, except, weirdly enough, Egoiste. It took me ages to make the connection, but once I did, it was unmistakable. It's the rose that does it, and it took No. 18 for me to recognize the rose in Egoiste. Strange how Chanels are all interrelated in such surprising ways.

To me, No. 18 is Egoiste with the spices swapped for herbal teas and the sandalwood for heaps of ambrette. It has a Scandinavian feel to it; all clean minimalism and cool, muted colors, but it also registers as organic and wholesome due to its carroty health store notes.

It's a very calming, clear headed scent to wear, and one that has been slowly growing on me.

Samsara Eau de Parfum by Guerlain

I have a weird thing with sandalwood fragrances: when I spray them on a card, I smell no sandalwood at all. This is the reason it took me over a year to try Samsara, because on the tester strip it smelled very unappealing.

However, trying it on skin is a completely different story! It's a gorgeous, creamy, sweet sandalwood; unapologetic, sexy, and bordering on garish, for a Guerlain.

The current EdT gives me the most pencil-shaving-sandalwood, which I love, but the base is too vanillic and plastic-ey. The current day EdP is massive in projection and sillage, almost too much for me. The vintage EdP is the baby bear of Samsaras for me; rounder and slightly more chic, and the sandalwood in this reminds me a bit of Bois des Iles.

The only thing that's missing is the lovely pencil-shaving note from the EdT, so I'm going to experiment with layering this with Diptique's Tam Dao, which has that in spades.

It's the loudest, least subtle fragrance I own, but I absolutely love it.

31 rue Cambon Eau de Toilette by Chanel

This one is special, and it has taken me quite some time to put my thoughts on it into words.

I first encountered this as a sample I received with the purchase of a bottle of Cuir de Russie, which I fell madly in love with. On first smell, 31 Rue Cambon didn't wow me. I seem to remember finding it pleasant, but a tad "generic perfumey". I kept going back to the sample though, and that one sample led to a 10 ml decant, a 50 ml decant, all the way to a 200 ml bottle.

I would describe it as a very plush, iris-patchouli; soft in texture, but quite assertive in presence. Due to the luxurious Chanel treatment these main ingredients seem grounded, rather than earthy. It certainly registers as a chypre to me, but a warm one, if that makes sense, probably due to the vanilla. It also has a very classical vibe.

This is a scent that speaks to me on an emotional level. It has a warm, personal intimacy that I find hard to describe. The best way I know how is to liken it to holding a t shirt that has just been taken off by the man I love; the warmth and scent of his skin still clinging to the soft fabric.

It has been slowly creeping up the ranks of my most beloved scents ever. It is also the only scent that I have experienced an irrational fear of running out of, which is why I have snatched up a 200 ml EdT bottle before even smelling the EdP reformulation.

Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger

The moment I put this on my skin I am transported back in time, to my last years in high school. It doesn't remind me of anyone specific, but rather brings to mind a certain type of girl I went to school with. Pretty, well mannered, glossy haired girls, dressed in crisp white shirts, lamb wool sweaters, and trendy jeans. They got decent grades, were popular with a certain type of boy, and never skipped class. They traveled in cliques and wore tinted lip balm. They may have played field hockey. I guess there was nothing to actively dislike about them, other than their complete lack of distinctiveness. We attended the same school, but lived in parallel universes. Wearing this scent feels wrong, like I've skipped back in time and morphed into one of them briefly.

Other than the associations, it's a pleasant fruity floral; clean, sparkling, up. I don't get much tea out of it.

Oudh Infini by Parfums Dusita

Wow, this is a statement fragrance! It's a reference oud rose for me, and one of the most interesting things I've tried so far. Recently I got to sample some real oud oils, and I would be very surprised if Oudh Infini doesn't contain some of the real deal.

Like others have noted, there's a serious barnyard note here straight off the bat. To me, it's a goat dung/skin/cheese type of a funk; deep and slightly strawlike and not for the faint of heart. The opening is really quite unique, and almost un-perfumelike. It takes at least an hour to settle, and during that hour the volume of the rose is turned up slowly. The rose is red and surprisingly fresh at the same time, but it never becomes dominant.

What surprised me about this fragrance is an intensely dry, woody/papery note. It's so parched that it reminds me of desserts and blistering sun, and it keeps the goat dung element just about wearable for me (wet dung would be too gross). This dry note reminds me of one of the Guerlain Les Deserts d'Orient scents, all 3 of which I once tried on blotters, which I then put in a notebook. That notebook now has this amazing dry smell, and I need to figure out at some point which of those 3 fragrances is responsible for it. But I digress.

I like to wear this fragrance as an experience, but I'm not sure I would feel comfortable wearing it around other people in the first few hours.

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