What did you try today? (2022)

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
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Bravanariz - Cala

The extreme exposure of the plants to the thrust of the sea in the coves of the Costa Brava gives them extraordinary strength. Only the fiercest survive; those are the plants we use to create Cala. In it, you will find the best of summer: the warm weight of the sun, the freshness of the sea and that nonchalant feeling that invades you when you walk, with your body feeling salty, between rows of cypresses clenching a branch of fennel between your teeth. A wild out-of- the-way cove in Cap de Creus offers the perfect image of the Mediterranean character: dry and cool, soft and rugged. Deliciously contradictory. Like samphire in summer. Sweet and salty, all along the coastline.

Fennel is not my favorite note, and it kind of has to be amongst them for Cala to work well for you. That said, Cala serves it up nicely on a bed of herbal and coniferous wood notes, such that I don't mind riding it out. It may be my least favorite of the Bravanirez offerings I've tried thus far, but it hasn't dampened my enthusiasm to try the rest of the line.
 
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Emanuel76

Basenotes Dependent
Jun 16, 2018
Tom Daxon - Resin Sacra

I tested it in a store.

Thick, smoky, oily olibanum. Minimum sweetness.
I couldn't take my hand off my nose. Awesome!
And then ambroxan.


What's that? Ambroxan? It's probably something else that just resembles ambroxan a bit.

Hmm! I really think it's ambroxan.

I'm pretty sure it's ambroxan.

Yeah. It's ambroxan, but it's well harmonized with the other ingredients.

Solo ambroxan recital for hours. Disgusting! 😨

No, I didn't knew its olfactory pyramid.


If you're the kind of person who can ignore the unpleasant ambroxan part, Resin Sacra it's well worth it, since the good part lasts for hours.
I'm not one of those people.


PS
Ambroxan it's not really unpleasant smelling, but in time its piercing highly tenacious odor became extremely annoying, like a scratched skipping vinyl disc who loudly repeat the same fragment over and over again.


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PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
282C6E89-3136-4763-9123-7767B94C8831.jpeg

Lisa Hoffman - Tuscan Fig

Imagine your own secret garden in the golden fields of Tuscany during the height of summer, with sun rays radiating off your skin as you pick a ripe, plump fig from a tree in the grove—an experience captured by Lisa with her best-selling scent, Tuscan Fig. At the heart is subtly-sweet fig, a unique fruit brought to Italy by the Romans and beloved so much in ancient times that its leaves were often worn on the head as a crown. With gourmand notes of vanilla bean and coconut, Tuscan Fig dries down to heady gardenia and honeysuckle to complement a sophisticated, seductive scent experience that’s almost edible.

Tuscan Fig’s fig/coconut/vanilla accord is utterly predictable and, despite a supposed floral drydown, quite linear. It’s notable primarily for a bland niceness that avoids offense at the expense of virtually all character. As such, it’s a serviceable office scent, though it suggests utter disinterest in a promotion.

As for anything more personal, never has it been clearer that figs are not dates.
 
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PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
I had a couple more “Least Likely to Succeed” carded samples queued up, but I’m just not in the mood. So, it’s time for another house survey. (And I’ll dispense with the big pics of little vials: they’re nothing to look at.)

Up this week: Papillon Artisan Perfumes. I’ve already reviewed Salomé and Tobacco Rose, so I’ll pick up the thread with…

Papillon - Angélique

"Inspiration for my perfumes comes to me in many ways, but none more so than from the nature in my own garden. Angélique began as an olfactory portrait of the Iris Pallida; days spent breathing in the delicate scent of the flowers and the honeyed aroma of pollen emerged as nature's own sketch of what Angélique would become. Angélique became a perfume based on my personal impression of the beautiful Iris Pallida, a flower that is as captivating and angelic as nature herself."

Angélique is a really lovely iris, incense, and wood scent. I could sniff my arm all day. The only problem is, I'd have to, because, while the longevity is substantial, the sillage is negligible. If this kicked out a little more, I'd be temped to buy a bottle. As it stands, it's hard for me to justify the purchase at Papillon prices. Sure do like it up close, though.
 
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Paddington

Marmalade Sandwich Eater
Basenotes Plus
Jun 17, 2021

Grimoire Anatole Lebreton​

What is meant to be a dusty tome of dark spells comes across as a touch too sweet milky concoction with a very odd bergamot on opening the sharp elements trying to be hidden but noticeable on searching and sweet elements along side dry balms come across as the equivalent scented chalk.

L'Eau Scandaleuse Anatole Lebreton​


Went in expecting a wild beast all I got was A tuberose (hate tuberose) and a mewing cat 😭
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
Papillon - Anubis

With a name inspired by the Egyptian God of the afterlife, Anubis embodies the sacred mysteries of Ancient Egypt. Heady blooms of jasmine, amid rich suede, smoulder over an incense laden base of frankincense, sandalwood, and labdanum. Vivid slashes of immortelle, pink lotus and saffron create a perfume shrouded in darkness and veiled in mystery.

"Anubis began life as a signature scent for myself. I have always been drawn to dark, leathery scents and the metamorphosis of Anubis from personal sketch to final product has been considerable. It was nameless until it was completed and it was then that I realised my obsession with ancient Egypt had subconsciously manifested itself; the initial materials used, synonymous with mummification, have now been sweetened into a dark but delicious fragrance. After many reincarnations, Anubis was born."


It's no surprise that I like Anubis: the "dark, leathery" profile is right up my alley, and Anubis delivers on its pyramid. Indeed, my overall aesthetic and that of perfumer Liz Moores are pretty much aligned. Yet, based on the scents I've tried so far, I find I share the following caveats with other reviewers: 1) Papillon fragrances tend not to project much, even when as strong as Anubis up close; 2) They pay homage to fragrances Moores and I both love, but I'm less certain Moores brings an original twist; 3) Given the prior caveats, the price of admission is high (though it was close to reasonable the other day when the pound hit bottom).

Like many an artisanal perfumer, Moores lays claim to using "rare and costly ingredients," and my nose doesn't argue the point. The thing is, Papillon's stated aim is "to create perfumes that are evocative and unique." I'm getting a great deal of the former at the expense of the latter. It's a bit like a parade of proper period Jane Austen film adaptations: all tastefully done and well acted, with beautiful costumes and cinematography, but, well, haven't we seen enough of them? Better now to take either period dramas or Jane Austen to a new place (e.g., The Favourite or Clueless). That's the sort of leap I'm hoping to find somewhere in the Papillon pantheon.

So, here I am, enjoying my Papillon samples—I have a considerably higher opinion of them than, say, @Colin Maillard does—and yet hesitating to splurge on bottles. I mean, I have yet to try one that doesn't smell at least good. So, I rather regret my curmudgeonly attitude, and I hope it will be rectified by the time I've worked my way through to Spell 125.
 
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cheapimitation

Basenotes Dependent
May 15, 2015
A totally random one, Narcisco Rodriguez For Him Bleu Noire.

I wanted to try the regular For Him which I didn't realize until a quick search just now is already hard to find. They didn't have that but I saw this sitting on the shelf and thought I'd give it a spray.

Anyway, this one smelled a lot like Dior Homme EDT (the original) but slightly fresher. It's how I'd imagine Dior Homme Cologne should smell (but it doesn't). Didn't expect that!
 

Toxicon

Basenotes Dependent
May 29, 2021
Giorgio Beverly Hills for Men. Courtesy of a very kind basenoter, I'm finally sampling this one...

I've come so close to blind buying this so many times, given the price of the current juice, but always talked myself out of it for one reason or another. First, there were concerns the modern juice would be "gutted". I've seen folks saying the opulent, dense, explosive powerhouse juice of the original has been reduced to a thin simulacrum in modern form, laced with cheap replacement bits and only a vague reference to the original. Second, I randomly came into what I believe to be a vintage specimen of Giorgio Red for Men... and it's hideous! Truly foul stuff, with a crotch-funk off note and something resembling stale saliva undergirding the otherwise interesting aromatics. I was still curious about GBHfM, but I really didn't want a 4 oz bottle of some rancid clunker, so I held off.

Now I understand my decant probably comes from a mid-2000s bottle, or at least it was purchased around that time, so I can't pin down the exact provenance or formulation. But I can say this stuff has made a LOVELY first impression. It opens with fizzy aldehydes, orange, and carnation; bright and blaring, but much gentler than the beastly powerhouse I was expecting. Pretty quickly this settles into the core patchouli & honey accord, and it isn't garish at all. Rather, it feels unisex, perfectly wearable, a bit left of center, perhaps, but not even all that dated. I assume this is a later formulation since it's so easy wearing, but it lacks the disjointed cheapness I find in some reformulated classics (like the current Bowling Green, with its heart notes propped up by wet cardboard). We'll see how this wears over the long haul, but we're off to a great start.
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
Papillon - Bengale Rouge

The muse for this perfume is my Bengal cat, Mimi. I have always been captivated by the beauty of her fur and her natural perfume. I didn’t want to create a literal fragrance, rather a re-imagining of the notes that lay upon her leopard coat. It was important that this perfume brought the comfort and warmth that so many of us receive from our pets, as well as do justice to Mimi’s natural elegance and grace. I moved away from dramatic, feral notes and focused upon a domesticated cosiness that would embrace the wearer with the same snugness and pleasure that I feel when I am with her. I wanted to include some of the exotic facets of the Bengal cats’ origins; unique, elegant and striking, I hoped to capture the majesty and mystery of these beautiful creatures in a sumptuous and soft perfume.

Bengal Rouge promises many things. It delivers an amber of decent quality and undistinguished composition. Come back, Anubis—all is forgiven.
 
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d r e

Basenotes Dependent
Dec 24, 2018
Cremo Sandalwood Suede:
Kinda smells like Guerlain Cuir Beluga, maybe the late dry down of Invictus Victory, something in that area.

Nautica Midnight Voyage:
Smells like the original Voyage combined with a very vague note that reminds me of Aventus & Invictus. A lil darker than the Original Voyage and Invictus, basically an in-between of all of those fragrances. Doesn't have the juiciness of any of those, kinda dry but not nose clogging or anything.
 

mixerscent

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Sep 9, 2013
Vintage Diptyque Oyedo EDT (square bottle), candied citrus with a hint of thyme. Natural smelling, long-lasting and perfect for Summer. The vintage square bottles have old-school quality.

Vintage Givenchy PI for Men, light and airy, woody-almond gourmand with a floral heart and wrapped in vanilla. It reminds me of Frederic Malle's fantastic Dries Van Noten which is dense and more natural compared to the Givenchy.
 
Aug 16, 2022
Lattafa Asad: Nonspecific 90s vibe with something like wedding cake. Strong, so good on the amount of scent per dollar metric. Wearable, don't love or hate.

Armaf Tres Nuit: Good gift for a guy who just finished a 30 year prison sentence. It's that one chemical that smells "good", but has long been incorporated into soaps and air fresheners. I think that's what I'll use it for.

Afnan Supremacy Silver: CDNIM but not as good, like Aventus and the other clones. Maybe it is fruiter and suitable for layering.

Lattafa Oud for Glory: Reminds me a little of Asad, but that wasn't long ago. Darker and less "Here I am!" I think. Kind of a tire/garage smell in a nice way. Also old books. Mass appealing, I don't know. Favorite try of the day.
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
Papillon - Dryad

As vibrant emerald galbanum weaves with the delicate flesh of bergamot, the nomadic wanderings of Dryad begin. Beneath jade canopies, sweet-herbed narcissus nestles with gilded jonquil. Shadows of apricot and cedrat morph radiant greens to a soft golden glow. Earthed within the ochre roots of benzoin, heady oakmoss entwines with deep vetiver hues. And at its heart, the slick skin of costus beckons you further into the forest...

OK, the description is bad purple prose, which is still better than the long poem that accompanies it on Papillon's site, but Dryad is a scent I can get with. Performance wise, it doesn't tend to cling to the skin as some other Papillons have, and while there are those reviewers who ding it as unoriginal or a chemical mess, I find it neither. Sure, it has antecedents, and ingredients that didn't fall off a tree, but those are hardly deal-breakers. I find Dryad a fresh (though not freshie) take on the green chypre, with enough dirt mixed with the galbanum and florals to keep things. Is it worth $200/50ml? I'm not reaching for my wallet. But I'll be keeping my eye on the exchange rate.
 
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Sep 17, 2022
Please use this thread to discuss which fragrance you tried for the first time, or that you sampled today.

Try and add a bit more context than just the name of the perfume - perhaps a few words about what you thought about it, or what led you to try it?

If you have a lot to say about the fragrance you've just tried, please consider starting a new thread about it as well :)
I tried on 5 different ones.. (Can't recommend).. so I took a shower, and now I'm wearing CK One Shock.. So far It's a pleasant experience !
 
Oct 21, 2021
Instead of the requested skin cream samples Sephora decided to send me Bleu de Chanel and Replica Jazz Club 😅

While jazz club is somewhat interesting to try, the Chanel one is unexpectedly bland. Just a generic men cologne 😒
 

kosui no kaori

Basenotes Dependent
Sep 14, 2022
Hello!

Today I’ve received my mini bottles of Guerlain Shalimar - both edp and edt. N.CAL Fragrance Reviewer was kind enough to recommend purchasing a mini before committing to a full bottle/s (which I was ready to do).

I’ve tried the edp once long ago, but it’s since disappeared from my memory. I’m very excited to sample them both on paper, and one on skin, in a few hours after lessons are finished and my other son has come home from school - so that I can give them my full attention.
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
Papillon - Spell 125

In the Book of the Dead, Spell 125 represents a balance of light and dark, life and death. The compelling ceremony of weighing the deceased’s heart against a feather animate a delicate olfactory rendering of the lightness of the soul, with just a sliver of the underworld shadows.

Rise in sparkles, with the brightness of Siberian pine. Let salt and resin lap at your skin, an ethereal cleanse, slick with wintergreen powders. A weightless shroud of lucent white ambergris lifts you. A glow of green sacra frankincense haunts you. Suspended in the lustre of ylang, you float between this world and the next.

"The seventh fragrance released in Papillon’s seventh year, on the seventh day of the seventh month. In ancient Egypt, the number 7 was considered a number of the Gods, and it is these deep esoteric connections thread together the inspiration and composition for Spell 125. Everything about this perfume is entwined with magic, history and ancient mystery. I loved the cyclical nature of creating Spell 125; I began the Papillon collection with Anubis, a perfume inspired by ancient Egypt, and it has been a pleasure to revisit this source and to close the circle from my first perfume to this, the seventh."


Liz Moores digs into ancient Egyptian mysticism to describe Spell 125. Not being terribly familiar with the smells of ancient Egypt, I couldn't tell you how closely the product hews to its inspiration, but I'm guessing the Egyptians of yore didn't have a whole lot of Siberian pine around. TRNP's Fruit of the Moon explores this theme with greater exoticism, which, if not authentic, at least strongly suggests an era far removed from our own. (I thought it too bizarre to be any living person's signature fragrance. Then I bought a bottle.) Dawn Spencer Hurwitz reconstructed ancient Egyptian perfume recipes, so I gather that's the gold standard. I have yet to explore her vast catalog, but I do have a boatload of samples waiting in the wings, which makes it inevitable that I'll devote a month to her, whether next year or the year after.

Meanwhile, Spell 125 delivers on the pine and frankincense, which makes me a happy fellow. My wife picked up on the incense and ylang, reminding her of her beloved Opium. The ambergris strikes me as subtle, probably well integrated into the mix of camphor and smoke from the main notes. I wouldn't know black hemlock if it sued me for child support, but if it helps to lend this its animalic cast, I'll take it.

Reviews paint Spell 125 as a divisive scent, and I can see that. It's working in an odd olfactory space, and within that framework it's by no means obsequious. It takes familiar notes and presents them in an unfamiliar way. That's what I like about it. Whatever it takes for Moores to get into a head beyond the great perfumes of the early 20th century, let's have more of that. When she imagines the inaccessible rather than honoring the canon, her voice emerges. Dare ever more daringly!
 
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d r e

Basenotes Dependent
Dec 24, 2018
Tommy Bahama Maritime:
Smells like the woodiness of A&F Fierce mixed with the salty citrus of Acqua di Gio/Versace pour Homme. Nice

Tommy Bahama Maritime Journey:
A much more sharp and bright version of Maritime.
 

Toxicon

Basenotes Dependent
May 29, 2021
Papillon - Spell 125

In the Book of the Dead, Spell 125 represents a balance of light and dark, life and death. The compelling ceremony of weighing the deceased’s heart against a feather animate a delicate olfactory rendering of the lightness of the soul, with just a sliver of the underworld shadows.

Rise in sparkles, with the brightness of Siberian pine. Let salt and resin lap at your skin, an ethereal cleanse, slick with wintergreen powders. A weightless shroud of lucent white ambergris lifts you. A glow of green sacra frankincense haunts you. Suspended in the lustre of ylang, you float between this world and the next.

"The seventh fragrance released in Papillon’s seventh year, on the seventh day of the seventh month. In ancient Egypt, the number 7 was considered a number of the Gods, and it is these deep esoteric connections thread together the inspiration and composition for Spell 125. Everything about this perfume is entwined with magic, history and ancient mystery. I loved the cyclical nature of creating Spell 125; I began the Papillon collection with Anubis, a perfume inspired by ancient Egypt, and it has been a pleasure to revisit this source and to close the circle from my first perfume to this, the seventh."


Liz Moores digs into ancient Egyptian mysticism to describe Spell 125. Not being terribly familiar with the smells of ancient Egypt, I couldn't tell you how closely the product hews to its inspiration, but I'm guessing the Egyptians of yore didn't have a whole lot of Siberian pine around. TRNP's Fruit of the Moon explores this theme with greater exoticism, which, if not authentic, at least strongly suggests an era far removed from our own. (I thought it too bizarre to be any living person's signature fragrance. Then I bought a bottle.) Dawn Spencer Hurwitz reconstructed ancient Egyptian perfume recipes, so I gather that's the gold standard. I have yet to explore her vast catalog, but I do have a boatload of samples waiting in the wings, which makes it inevitable that I'll devote a month to her, whether next year or the year after.

Meanwhile, Spell 125 delivers on the pine and frankincense, which makes me a happy fellow. My wife picked up on the incense and ylang, reminding her of her beloved Opium. The ambergris strikes me as subtle, probably well integrated into the mix of camphor and smoke from the main notes. I wouldn't know black hemlock if it sued me for child support, but if it helps to lend this its animalic cast, I'll take it.

Reviews paint Spell 125 as a divisive scent, and I can see that. It's working in an odd olfactory space, and within that framework it's by no means obsequious. It takes familiar notes and presents them in an unfamiliar way. That's what I like about it. Whatever it takes for Moores to get into a head beyond the great perfumes of the early 20th century, let's have more of that. When she imagines the inaccessible rather than honoring the canon, her voice emerges. Dare ever more daringly!
Is this anything like Fille en Aiguilles? Sounds like it's aiming for something different, but the pine and incense make me wonder. Sounds fascinating regardless.
 

LiveJazz

Funky fresh
Basenotes Plus
Mar 16, 2006
Is this anything like Fille en Aiguilles? Sounds like it's aiming for something different, but the pine and incense make me wonder. Sounds fascinating regardless.
They share some pine, but not much else. The evergreen is much more earthy (almost moldy) and direct up top and it’s generally drier/airier and more bright and dry in its incense interpretation in the base, compared to Fille’s more Lutens-esque (aka sweeter) take. Love both. Spell is more interesting and unique to me, Fille more familiar in the perfume sphere.
 
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Scent Detective

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 15, 2015
Is this anything like Fille en Aiguilles? Sounds like it's aiming for something different, but the pine and incense make me wonder. Sounds fascinating regardless.
Fille en Aiguilles is much more to my liking than Spell 125, which has an almost sour aspect that I didn't enjoy.

I didn't smell pine or any conifer at all in Spell 125. I did smell a sour, "hay" like note that I could almost say was slightly incensy, but I was hoping for conifers and incense in Spell 125 and unfortunately I couldn't smell either clearly on my skin. I know there are many who really enjoy Spell 125 however.
 
Aug 16, 2022
Pegasus Exclusif: If you like Pegasus, you may like this too, somewhat coincidentally. The namesake is second stage; if you told me it was Tuscan Leather with Pegasus replacing the raspberry accord, I'd believe it. Purely on pleasantness it's top tier.
 

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