Clandestine Laboratories

Mar 26, 2022
Late to the party on Film Noir but wearing my sample today and wow it has blossomed on me. Very impressed.

As much as I love wearing Film Noir, I've come to think that the only way to really understand it is to smell someone else wearing it. At least on me - and possibly because it's so familiar to me - it becomes hard to smell after a while to the point where it disappears until the next morning when it's the first thing I smell when I wake up. I'm slightly envious that you get to experience it blossoming on you.

When my GF wears it (usually three sprays, one in the back of her hair) I can smell the sillage trailing behind her pretty intensely 8 hours after she applied it. I think because it creates such an aura, it may also trigger anosmia in the wearer particularly once it becomes familiar.
 

Proust_Madeleine

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 5, 2019
Shoot I can’t get enough of Film Noir. Added a full bottle to my collection and I can’t stop wearing it. That lavender up top is so nice. It’s bracing in a way that I’ve always wanted from the top of Caron Pour un Homme. Maybe vintage versions are more like this but yeah. The drydown is super good and I just keep applying to get that smoky lavender opening. I think there must be some magic in that lavender… maybe some hidden rosemary or clary sage. It’s just so addictive. I think again our friend the scented devil, has nailed this one in his review. I’d add that there’s a big difference inside and out. Wearing it indoors, the top notes are almost a dare… there’s something a bit dangerous smelling about them. Whereas, applying it and immediately going out, the top notes carry fresh and friendly on the breeze. In that way there maybe is something cigarette smoky about those notes.
 
Mar 26, 2022
I used a bunch of varieties of lavender, lavender absolute, spike lavender, lavandin absolute, plus a bunch of natural isolates that are found in lavender to create that effect. The topnote took me years to fix because originally the combination of smoke and florals had a bit of a burnt vegetable nuance - but now most people don't even notice the smoke. Unfortunately, this will be the last batch with the original lavender, which dominates and has an unusually warm drydown, but I think I've found a fairly decent substitute and I still have some of the original stuff so the change shouldn't be too noticeable. Sorry to sound like a typical indie perfumer but much as I try to be consistent it's really a challenge when using naturals sourced from smaller suppliers. I've had several go out of business or reduce their offerings in the past couple years.
 

TNBLUEMIKE

Basenotes Institution
Oct 1, 2013
Thank you for the in-depth thoughts to capture the true basis for Film Noir. As a kid in a sweet/candy shop with choices to abound from your house I at first overlooked the beauty it provided to me. Lavender seems to be one of my favorite accords and provides a instant trigger for a natural calming and reflective wear. A beautiful composition.
 
Feb 26, 2022
Can I just say transparency about reformulations is one of my favorite things about indie/niche houses. It is just very refreshing to have companies not gaslighting you by insisting the perfume could not and would never be reformulated when clearly it has. For me at least it makes it much easier to enjoy the new reformulations.

Besides the fact that it is totally understandable for the exact reason that it sounds like Film Noir will have to be reformulated. It is probably more a mindset problem on my part, but for example I have a lot of irrational resentment for the brand Raina J because she clearly had to reformulate a few of her fragrances either for supplier issues, IFRA changes, or some business reason, but she is swearing up and down that nothing changed. But the fragrances absolutely smell different. If she had just be open about it even with out specifics, I think I would be okay with it, even though a couple favorites are not quite as good anymore. But instead taking the track of basically telling her clients that they are imagining things is just honestly kind of insulting.
 
Mar 26, 2022
Can I just say transparency about reformulations is one of my favorite things about indie/niche houses. It is just very refreshing to have companies not gaslighting you by insisting the perfume could not and would never be reformulated when clearly it has. For me at least it makes it much easier to enjoy the new reformulations.

Besides the fact that it is totally understandable for the exact reason that it sounds like Film Noir will have to be reformulated. It is probably more a mindset problem on my part, but for example I have a lot of irrational resentment for the brand Raina J because she clearly had to reformulate a few of her fragrances either for supplier issues, IFRA changes, or some business reason, but she is swearing up and down that nothing changed. But the fragrances absolutely smell different. If she had just be open about it even with out specifics, I think I would be okay with it, even though a couple favorites are not quite as good anymore. But instead taking the track of basically telling her clients that they are imagining things is just honestly kind of insulting.

Ow, I hear you. One of the reasons I got into perfumery was because of a fragrance that had become part of my life suddenly disappearing and realizing how much it mattered to me. I really try to avoid changing anything once it's released except for making subtle improvements as I find new sources for natural materials or as I learn how to slightly adjust a formula to improve performance - or, unfortunately, as materials I'd taken for granted become unavailable before I think to buy a decent stash. As I've gained confidence I've gone from thinking I should never change anything to believing that if people like what I make in the first place they'll probably be ok if I'm transparent about why something has changed. I wear my own stuff and I'm not going to screw it up if I can avoid it - and if I do, I'm going to stop selling it. I get that it's embarrassing, possibly, to admit to being an "artisanal" indie perfumer if one aspires to be a legit brand but imo if one understands the audience for indie perfumery there's really no downside to being honest. I don't believe in complete transparency and am not one of those people who's super interested in sharing my formulas in order to "advance the art and further public understanding of the art of perfumery" or any of that but imo brands that lie are doing themselves and their audience a huge disservice.

One thing to consider, however, is that fragrances can actually change without the formula changing because natural materials change from year to year - and also because of the effect of aging on a batch, similar to wine. Ideally indie perfumers/brands will be clear with their clients when batches change, particularly if several years have elapsed between batches.
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
Shoot I can’t get enough of Film Noir. Added a full bottle to my collection and I can’t stop wearing it. That lavender up top is so nice. It’s bracing in a way that I’ve always wanted from the top of Caron Pour un Homme. Maybe vintage versions are more like this but yeah. The drydown is super good and I just keep applying to get that smoky lavender opening. I think there must be some magic in that lavender… maybe some hidden rosemary or clary sage. It’s just so addictive. I think again our friend the scented devil, has nailed this one in his review. I’d add that there’s a big difference inside and out. Wearing it indoors, the top notes are almost a dare… there’s something a bit dangerous smelling about them. Whereas, applying it and immediately going out, the top notes carry fresh and friendly on the breeze. In that way there maybe is something cigarette smoky about those notes.
It's my favorite fragrance of his, and my favorite fragrance of 2021.
 
Mar 26, 2022
Speaking of Film Noir, just wanted to let everyone know I’m working on an “intense”/summer version in response to a few people commenting that FN doesn’t last as well in hot weather. Just finished mixing the first draft last night - more of the base notes and I substituted geranium for the rose note to add a bit of freshness. Biggest change, however, is I’ve also added a green tea absolute which seems to work well with the overall character of the fragrance and freshens things up a little, but also a touch of black currant, which boosts the geranium and animalic aspects. So far so good. I’m hoping to have it tweaked and to release it within a month as a limited release at first and then, if the response is positive, as a regular variant/flanker of Film Noir. Working title is Été Noir.
 

TNBLUEMIKE

Basenotes Institution
Oct 1, 2013
Speaking of Film Noir, just wanted to let everyone know I’m working on an “intense”/summer version in response to a few people commenting that FN doesn’t last as well in hot weather. Just finished mixing the first draft last night - more of the base notes and I substituted geranium for the rose note to add a bit of freshness. Biggest change, however, is I’ve also added a green tea absolute which seems to work well with the overall character of the fragrance and freshens things up a little, but also a touch of black currant, which boosts the geranium and animalic aspects. So far so good. I’m hoping to have it tweaked and to release it within a month as a limited release at first and then, if the response is positive, as a regular variant/flanker of Film Noir. Working title is Été Noir.
Awesome count me in
 
Feb 22, 2020
Ditto on the Film Noir Intense. Today I finally broke into my sample of Ashes and wow, something about it brought back an olfactive memory. The only other fragrance that has done this was Habit Rouge by Guerlain. They both remind me of my grandma and aunt, something about the 80s, riding around in the backseat of a white Lincoln while my grandma and aunt sat in the front seat chain smoking cigarettes and playing scratch offs. The smell of leather, lipstick, smoke and copious amounts of hairspray.

I'm not saying either perfume smells like what I describe, but parts of both remind me of those fond days.
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
Speaking of Film Noir, just wanted to let everyone know I’m working on an “intense”/summer version in response to a few people commenting that FN doesn’t last as well in hot weather. Just finished mixing the first draft last night - more of the base notes and I substituted geranium for the rose note to add a bit of freshness. Biggest change, however, is I’ve also added a green tea absolute which seems to work well with the overall character of the fragrance and freshens things up a little, but also a touch of black currant, which boosts the geranium and animalic aspects. So far so good. I’m hoping to have it tweaked and to release it within a month as a limited release at first and then, if the response is positive, as a regular variant/flanker of Film Noir. Working title is Été Noir.
Down to try this
 

Proust_Madeleine

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 5, 2019
Wearing Orpheus today(or Chiron as my earlier sample called it). I love the fizzy cola-esque opening I get from the citrus over the vanilla and incense resin(I would guess myrrh from the Dr peppery burst up top).

Immediately thereafter I get something metallic… sometimes I get this non-rubbery note from good frankincense but more often from saffron compounds like Safranal or even Safraleine.

I’ve had several friends try it and say that the opening was “super funky” and “animalic” when smelling it blind. And others who see a comparison to OE2 from ALD. I can’t say I’m getting any of that this time but I’m guessing it’s a civet/civet replacer note that I’m just not very sensitive too(civet fragrances are always mild, lush and beautiful to me, so it’s possible).

Edit to say: pretty similar experience/impression as the Brooks Otterlake review.
 
Mar 26, 2022
I’ve had several friends try it and say that the opening was “super funky” and “animalic” when smelling it blind.
I’m glad you’re liking it. They’re picking up on the fact that I overdosed a ketone (cheesy/funky chem) that boosts the lemon-orange-bergamot topnote. It bugged me at first but I eventually came to like it when wearing it as opposed to sniffing it up close. It’s toned down a little in the newer batch but all the samples I’ve sent out are the original. And you’re right about smelling myrrh, it’s in there. There’s also sage contributing to the topnote.
 

Proust_Madeleine

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 5, 2019
I’m glad you’re liking it. They’re picking up on the fact that I overdosed a ketone (cheesy/funky chem) that boosts the lemon-orange-bergamot topnote. It bugged me at first but I eventually came to like it when wearing it as opposed to sniffing it up close. It’s toned down a little in the newer batch but all the samples I’ve sent out are the original. And you’re right about smelling myrrh, it’s in there. There’s also sage contributing to the topnote.
I wonder if I’m anosmic to that ketone or if I just smell it slightly chilled out haha. Cause I don’t get funk!
 
Mar 26, 2022
Oops, I was wrong about that - it's not a ketone but an ether and it's not super funky, but I can see how the effect on the topnote might suggest civet. Even though it's nowhere near as skanky it does give a similar lift and texture, which I found especially noticeable when I first added it. Seems to have blended well now (at least to my nose) but that's the only thing in the formula that even remotely resembles civet. Besides what I mentioned before, maté absolute also contributes to the topnote.
 

TNBLUEMIKE

Basenotes Institution
Oct 1, 2013
Home tonight messing around with some samples. Astoria now this is different. My nose not the best to conjure up notes without a script to follow seems to tell me something minty, fruit with perhaps rose involved. Any help on this one note wise would be very appreciated. Very interesting. I will have to visit again to grasp it’s overall effect on me. So far so good.
 
Mar 26, 2022
Home tonight messing around with some samples. Astoria now this is different. My nose not the best to conjure up notes without a script to follow seems to tell me something minty, fruit with perhaps rose involved. Any help on this one note wise would be very appreciated. Very interesting. I will have to visit again to grasp it’s overall effect on me. So far so good.
Well, you nailed it so far. There's mint, a ton of rose, and some fruity elements in the topnote that are also naturally found in rose. Also raspberry, cardamom, himalayan cedarwood, civet...I also generally list honeysuckle and peony, which were part of the inspiration (a walk in my GF's neighborhood where everyone grows roses in their front yards on a beautiful late spring day, plus a guy saw us smelling roses in his mother's yard and gave us a sprig of mint). It's stronger and a bit more muddled than something I'd do today, but that's not a bad thing imo - but I could see how it could be difficult to pick out individual notes.
 
Mar 26, 2022
I recently mixed a new batch, which is aging now and which seems on track to be better than the original, partly because there's helichrysum in the topnote and I recently found a better quality, plus I used a better quality mint. That's nothing against the original, which has now had plenty of time to age. One of the challenges going forward is that many of my original fragrances seem to improve with a couple years of age and that's not really an option now, which means I have to fix the things that were previously solved by aging - and in some cases that may not be possible.
 

Clarissochka

Basenotes Junkie
Jul 1, 2015
Home tonight messing around with some samples. Astoria now this is different. My nose not the best to conjure up notes without a script to follow seems to tell me something minty, fruit with perhaps rose involved. Any help on this one note wise would be very appreciated. Very interesting. I will have to visit again to grasp it’s overall effect on me. So far so good.
 

TNBLUEMIKE

Basenotes Institution
Oct 1, 2013
I recently mixed a new batch, which is aging now and which seems on track to be better than the original, partly because there's helichrysum in the topnote and I recently found a better quality, plus I used a better quality mint. That's nothing against the original, which has now had plenty of time to age. One of the challenges going forward is that many of my original fragrances seem to improve with a couple years of age and that's not really an option now, which means I have to fix the things that were previously solved by aging - and in some cases that may not be possible.
Sounds great. Making revisions and tweaking with this and also Film Noir keeps us all on our toes in a good way. I am sorting through the off menu samples from recent purchases and really enjoying the different directions they are taking me. Thank you for the informative updates.
 
Mar 26, 2022
Really good news here. After making a couple breakthroughs last weekend and letting things settle for a week, Été Noir seems like it's basically good to go, even though it hasn't aged much. My original overly optimistic timeline now seems accurate after all.

For anyone interested in the process: simply changing the balance of base and topnotes did not work because the fragrance then both lacked bloom and the texture and character of the original, plus the green tea seemed to thin out the body and over-emphasize the dry-smoky qualitites (many people don't notice, but they are actually very present in the original). The substitution of geranium for rose also seemed to make it a bit thin, without the impact I'd hoped for. As a result, I added back in the rose element (which is not rose absolute - not because I'm cheap but because it wouldn't work well in this context) and then boosted the lavender and rose with traces of some very powerful floral chems which, thankfully, don't seem to stand out at all but give the fragrance a bit more body and floralcy. I then doubled the oud, adding a really nice Vietnamese oil that works well in this context. It's interesting to see how much oud contributes to the character of the fragrance; if I didn't list it as a note, I doubt anyone would even know it's there but it's definitely a major contributor to the drydown and overall performance. Despite being only about half a percent in the concentrate it contributes hugely to the noirishness,

I think people will find it performs as advertised, with the same overall character but a slightly richer and more floral top and midnote, better longevity and more body in hot weather without smelling noticeably more artificial.

I also just evaluated the new, larger batch/version of Vert after diluting it last week and, to my relief, it not smells very comparable to the original 2015 batch. Not only are they different in age but, as with many of my older fragrances, I've had to replace the green peppercorn (one of my favorite materials early on, very different from black pepper) with a base that I made. It's worth noting, however, that there are three bottles of the original still in stock. Probably if I'd made the last ten bottles a limited edition and doubled the price they would have sold out right away, but that's not what I'm going for here. They've been available for weeks and no one has bought them, so just an FYI for anyone interested in having one of the few bottles of the original small batch before it's gone for good.
 
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Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
Really good news here. After making a couple breakthroughs last weekend and letting things settle for a week, Été Noir seems like it's basically good to go, even though it hasn't aged much. My original overly optimistic timeline now seems accurate after all.

For anyone interested in the process: simply changing the balance of base and topnotes did not work because the fragrance then both lacked bloom and the texture and character of the original, plus the green tea seemed to thin out the body and over-emphasize the dry-smoky qualitites (which many people don't even notice, but which are actually very present in the original). The substitution of geranium for rose also seemed to make it a bit thin, without the impact I'd hoped for. As a result, I added back in the rose element (which is not rose absolute - not because I'm cheap but because it wouldn't work well in this context) and then boosted the lavender and rose with traces of some very powerful floral chems which, thankfully, don't seem to stand out at all but give the fragrance a bit more body and floralcy. I then doubled the oud, adding a really nice Vietnamese oil that works well in this context. It's interesting to see how much oud contributes to the character of the fragrance; if I didn't list it as a note, I doubt anyone would even know it's there but it's definitely a major contributor to the drydown and overall performance of the original. Despite being only about half a percent in the concentrate it contributes hugely to the noirishness,

I think people will find it performs as advertised, with the same overall character but a slightly richer and more floral top and midnote, better longevity and more body in hot weather without smelling noticeably more artificial.

I also just evaluated the new, larger batch/version of Vert after diluting it last week and, to my relief, it not smells very comparable to the original 2015 batch. Not only are they different in age but, as with many of my older fragrances, I've had to replace the green peppercorn (one of my favorite materials early on, very different from black pepper) with a base that I made. It's worth noting, however, that there are three bottles of the original still in stock. Probably if I'd made the last ten bottles a limited edition and doubled the price they would have sold out right away, but that's not what I'm going for here. They've been available for weeks and no one has bought them, so just an FYI for anyone interested in having one of the few bottles of the original small batch before it's gone for good.
Actually wearing Vert as we speak, and I want to try Ete Noir
 

Chet_Karim

Basenotes Member
Sep 8, 2020
Been enjoying this house lately. Madrid, Silver, Vert, Cote, and Orpheus are my favorites.

Orpheus reminds me a bit of Olibanvm from Profumum Roma. Less linear though. A nice fragrance for warm evenings.

If you like Bel Ami Vetiver, I recommend Cote.

Madrid is my 90+ degree daytime fragrance. The crispness cuts through humidity quite well.

Silver perhaps my overall favorite. Very unique to my nose. 100ml worthy.
 

TNBLUEMIKE

Basenotes Institution
Oct 1, 2013
Been enjoying this house lately. Madrid, Silver, Vert, Cote, and Orpheus are my favorites.

Orpheus reminds me a bit of Olibanvm from Profumum Roma. Less linear though. A nice fragrance for warm evenings.

If you like Bel Ami Vetiver, I recommend Cote.

Madrid is my 90+ degree daytime fragrance. The crispness cuts through humidity quite well.

Silver perhaps my overall favorite. Very unique to my nose. 100ml worthy.
Cote is awesome. Glad you like it. Went for the full bottle as it hit the mark for me. This whole house is interesting.
 
Mar 26, 2022
Oh look, there’s a really nice article about me on Fragrantica. And apparently i’m in Brooklyn now lol

 

johnnyangel

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 2, 2013
I'm working my way through the collection and really appreciating the care that has clearly been taken here. In several cases I've been reminded of other favorite scents in my collection and thought "Gee, this reminds me of X, but a little more sophisticated."

Reading the comments made me hesitate to spritz Master. But I would strongly encourage at least a sample. It's an incredibly comfortable wear. The opening is brightened with a great citrus blend that brings to mind a peel expressed over a glass of brandy...several of these showcase a really compelling citrus-led top note, and quite varied as well. I find the leather rich and comfortable, like a rich uncle's study. There's this major chord with a friendly oud/incense and iris (reminiscent of how it presents in DHI).

It's hot here in Florida, but I gave it a full wear at dinner and felt like a million bucks. Bumped about 10 other scents behind it and sprang for a full bottle pronto.
 

Scent Detective

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 15, 2015
I'm working my way through the collection and really appreciating the care that has clearly been taken here. In several cases I've been reminded of other favorite scents in my collection and thought "Gee, this reminds me of X, but a little more sophisticated."

Reading the comments made me hesitate to spritz Master. But I would strongly encourage at least a sample. It's an incredibly comfortable wear. The opening is brightened with a great citrus blend that brings to mind a peel expressed over a glass of brandy...several of these showcase a really compelling citrus-led top note, and quite varied as well. I find the leather rich and comfortable, like a rich uncle's study. There's this major chord with a friendly oud/incense and iris (reminiscent of how it presents in DHI).

It's hot here in Florida, but I gave it a full wear at dinner and felt like a million bucks. Bumped about 10 other scents behind it and sprang for a full bottle pronto.
Couldn’t agree more. Master is brilliant from top to bottom.
 

TNBLUEMIKE

Basenotes Institution
Oct 1, 2013
Oh look, there’s a really nice article about me on Fragrantica. And apparently i’m in Brooklyn now lol

Wonderful Article. I hope this opens more eyes to your talent and offering’s available. I can‘t thank you enough for the passion and love you put in every composition.
 
Feb 26, 2022
I am not quite finished going through everything, and similarly to most of the sentiment in this thread, I am actually overall very impressed with the line. You never quite know with someone new, particularly someone sort of coming out of nowhere and there have been houses I have tried that just...well, let's just say I am glad I was not actually in contact with the perfumers directly because their offerings were very very average and it would have been difficult/awkward to have to talk to them about it.

I already said this to...I don't remember the perfumers name 😅 and I think it has already been said multiple times so it is public knowledge and not doxxing, oh dear. Well I already said this to the perfumer, but in a way the sample set for some reason kind of reminded me of when I was exploring Nicolai Parfumeur Createur, except honestly I found NPC to be overall really bland and in a few places actually actively unpleasant, but generally that has not been the case with CL.

I need to finish exploring and I want to spend more time with the ones that I particularly enjoyed, but some initial thoughts:

Novochoc: this actually impressed me as well done and I absolutely hated it because of the chocolate note 😂. With that said trying to consciously set my chocolate note bias aside, first I give it top marks for clearly identifying itself from the beginning as a chocolate fragrance. It is much worse when they make it sound like it is something else, and then it ends up being all chocolate, but Novochoc is clear about being a chocolate perfume, which I appreciate. My overall impression was that it struck me as a hybrid between Slumberhouse Ore 2022 and Tauer Sundowner.

If I am being perfectly honest in the opening the chocolate note did read a bit more on the children's toy artificial chocolate smell chocolate while Ore read more consistently as cocoa to me, though I am admittedly particularly picky about chocolate in perfume. That impression faded with the opening and the chocolate/cocoa was much smoother, more pleasant, and much better integrated into the perfume as a whole. And as much as I disliked the chocolate, I think it is very positive that it consistently made me think of Sundowner, not in terms of being a copy, but just having the same sort of vibe, and I really enjoy Sundowner. So I think actually in the end it is actually very well done, as long as you do not mind an overt chocolate note.

Tilia: This was another one that really did not work for me, but I think it is also a perfume style that I rarely really enjoy. I was trying them without reading the notes first to get my impression and then reading the notes while I was wearing them to get a sense for my first impression vs what the listed notes actually were. For me Tilia was a really strong bubblegum tuberose bomb. I was trying them on my wrists and this is one I did not scrub, but I did rinse my wrists in order to tone it down because I really dislike bubblegum tuberose and it was overwhelming. So I was actually quite surprised to read the description and find that tuberose is apparently not a note in this perfume. Overall it was a bit too sharp, intense, and humid for my taste.

My experience was actually similar to Cavatina by Dusita, which also struck me as unpleasantly sharp, hot, and humid. I really enjoy Douceur du Siam by Dusita and D.S. by D.S. and Durga which I would place in the same sort of tropical floral genre, but those two read more lush and breezy to me than Tilia and Cavatina do. Tilia was a bit claustrophobic and heavy and hot to me and I did not particularly enjoy it at any point. However again, that could be an issue with my preferences. And actually now that I think about it, my reaction to Cavatina was that it might actually smell really nice in the air as a trail, which also might be the trick to Tilia. It is difficult to gauge how a perfume smells in the air on myself, so maybe the intensity of Tilia might be much better in the air trailing someone than having it up close and personal 🤷‍♂️

Certo: Well structured/well done, but overall to me this was so incredibly forgettable and bland, which is sort of what it was trying to be. To me it was a well done version of that generic designer profile somewhere in the field of Sauvage, Acqua di Gio, Allure Homme Sport, Guerlain Homme. All of those perfumes just basically smell generally the same to me, I find them all bland and difficult to tell apart. It also sort of struck me as having a synthetic edge, but I think that is also because the sort of generic, quiet, "man" fragrance profile usually tends to read synthetic to me, which could be an issue with my perception, rather than with these perfumes. It definitely struck me as more pleasant and less synthetic than any of the others I have mentioned, but this was probably the most forgettable and least interesting in the line for me.

With that said, I think it is also probably for that reason an essential perfume to round out the house lineup because there is definitely a huge market for those nice, pleasant, clean, unassuming masculine fragrances. Even though for me, I was immediately bored and immediately struggled to really remember what it smelled like, I do not think it is a bad fragrance, and actually could end up being quite popular because Sauvage is an all time best seller even though for the life of me I cannot imagine why anyone would actually spend money to smell so bland and forgetable.

...and now that I read them back this is all sort of a bit negative, but that really has not been my overall impression. I will post more of my thoughts as I go along, but overall CL is an exciting emerging brand.
 

Proust_Madeleine

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 5, 2019
I am not quite finished going through everything, and similarly to most of the sentiment in this thread, I am actually overall very impressed with the line. You never quite know with someone new, particularly someone sort of coming out of nowhere and there have been houses I have tried that just...well, let's just say I am glad I was not actually in contact with the perfumers directly because their offerings were very very average and it would have been difficult/awkward to have to talk to them about it.

I already said this to...I don't remember the perfumers name 😅 and I think it has already been said multiple times so it is public knowledge and not doxxing, oh dear. Well I already said this to the perfumer, but in a way the sample set for some reason kind of reminded me of when I was exploring Nicolai Parfumeur Createur, except honestly I found NPC to be overall really bland and in a few places actually actively unpleasant, but generally that has not been the case with CL.

I need to finish exploring and I want to spend more time with the ones that I particularly enjoyed, but some initial thoughts:

Novochoc: this actually impressed me as well done and I absolutely hated it because of the chocolate note 😂. With that said trying to consciously set my chocolate note bias aside, first I give it top marks for clearly identifying itself from the beginning as a chocolate fragrance. It is much worse when they make it sound like it is something else, and then it ends up being all chocolate, but Novochoc is clear about being a chocolate perfume, which I appreciate. My overall impression was that it struck me as a hybrid between Slumberhouse Ore 2022 and Tauer Sundowner.

If I am being perfectly honest in the opening the chocolate note did read a bit more on the children's toy artificial chocolate smell chocolate while Ore read more consistently as cocoa to me, though I am admittedly particularly picky about chocolate in perfume. That impression faded with the opening and the chocolate/cocoa was much smoother, more pleasant, and much better integrated into the perfume as a whole. And as much as I disliked the chocolate, I think it is very positive that it consistently made me think of Sundowner, not in terms of being a copy, but just having the same sort of vibe, and I really enjoy Sundowner. So I think actually in the end it is actually very well done, as long as you do not mind an overt chocolate note.

Tilia: This was another one that really did not work for me, but I think it is also a perfume style that I rarely really enjoy. I was trying them without reading the notes first to get my impression and then reading the notes while I was wearing them to get a sense for my first impression vs what the listed notes actually were. For me Tilia was a really strong bubblegum tuberose bomb. I was trying them on my wrists and this is one I did not scrub, but I did rinse my wrists in order to tone it down because I really dislike bubblegum tuberose and it was overwhelming. So I was actually quite surprised to read the description and find that tuberose is apparently not a note in this perfume. Overall it was a bit too sharp, intense, and humid for my taste.

My experience was actually similar to Cavatina by Dusita, which also struck me as unpleasantly sharp, hot, and humid. I really enjoy Douceur du Siam by Dusita and D.S. by D.S. and Durga which I would place in the same sort of tropical floral genre, but those two read more lush and breezy to me than Tilia and Cavatina do. Tilia was a bit claustrophobic and heavy and hot to me and I did not particularly enjoy it at any point. However again, that could be an issue with my preferences. And actually now that I think about it, my reaction to Cavatina was that it might actually smell really nice in the air as a trail, which also might be the trick to Tilia. It is difficult to gauge how a perfume smells in the air on myself, so maybe the intensity of Tilia might be much better in the air trailing someone than having it up close and personal 🤷‍♂️

Certo: Well structured/well done, but overall to me this was so incredibly forgettable and bland, which is sort of what it was trying to be. To me it was a well done version of that generic designer profile somewhere in the field of Sauvage, Acqua di Gio, Allure Homme Sport, Guerlain Homme. All of those perfumes just basically smell generally the same to me, I find them all bland and difficult to tell apart. It also sort of struck me as having a synthetic edge, but I think that is also because the sort of generic, quiet, "man" fragrance profile usually tends to read synthetic to me, which could be an issue with my perception, rather than with these perfumes. It definitely struck me as more pleasant and less synthetic than any of the others I have mentioned, but this was probably the most forgettable and least interesting in the line for me.

With that said, I think it is also probably for that reason an essential perfume to round out the house lineup because there is definitely a huge market for those nice, pleasant, clean, unassuming masculine fragrances. Even though for me, I was immediately bored and immediately struggled to really remember what it smelled like, I do not think it is a bad fragrance, and actually could end up being quite popular because Sauvage is an all time best seller even though for the life of me I cannot imagine why anyone would actually spend money to smell so bland and forgetable.

...and now that I read them back this is all sort of a bit negative, but that really has not been my overall impression. I will post more of my thoughts as I go along, but overall CL is an exciting emerging brand.
Interesting thoughts, Olympe. I wonder how they’ll change when you spend more time. I also wonder if you sampled them all in a row or gave them their own days to try. The reason I ask is I’ve never had more of a 180 than on some of these perfumes. When I went all in a row, I thought Silver was a dull ambroxan bomb and dismissed why everyone here seemed to like it. After I finished my first sample bottle, I asked Mark to throw one in with my bottle of Ashes and I was shocked that it seemed like a totally different scent with mint and sweet smoky amber. Really made me feel like I missed it sampling them all together.

The only reason I ask is a couple of these reviews are so far from the general consensus(ie finding Tuberose in Tilia and calling Certo a “quiet” man’s fragrance… [Certo being more of a very loud leather cologne like Bianchi’s Etruscan Water or Bel Ami, rather than a synthy clean Sauvage type thing).

I would never say you are WRONG. I just wonder if your perceptions will shift towards the median or if you will continue to get something radically different. I have a Guerlain that’s supposed to be like but I smell Indian food and burnt wires. 1 time out of 100 I get lime. But the rest I get a very weird thing, so I don’t think we all do revert to the average perception every time.
 

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