Niche Fragrance Magazine

Blind dates with scents – part II

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I`m continuing the sessions of blind tests, a new approach of testing fragrances I love to do these days. This means that while I test and write the reviews I do not know their names and official ingredients because I chose all the samples randomly and they have been previously wrapped in matte duct tape. I think it`s fun and it proves that our personal perception and judgement is all that counts. On a more personal level this helped me discover some compositions I thought I couldn`t enjoy before. And at the same time, it became clear that my nose might not be impressed at all if a fragrance is top notch if it smells…terrible.

Let the game begin…

Sample number 1

Again, as in the previous post the session begins really nice. It opens with an enticing aura of soft, ambiguous flowers, as a veil, soft and diffuse. After a while a pale iris becomes slightly more pronounced having a musky undertone both creating an appealing rhythm of clean and creamy nuances. Oh! but then things begin to change… The musky accent expands more and more taking the entire control over the scent shoveling at the surface some spices from the grounds of the composition. Now a sweet, carrotish and quite stale odor of spice is being emphasized, and along with the musks a strange effect is born. Like a thin layer of rancid oil applied all over clean, freshly washed body. Well, for someone who enjoys only roasted baby carrots in a dish, I`m not sure about my feelings of meeting these vegetables in a perfume. It is interesting and feminine for sure, but I`m a bit concerned and distracted by this weird spice or vegetable note. It adds a bad “je ne sais qoui” to the scent. Maybe it`s the oily ambrette or God knows what! I apologise for making this sound so mean, but if it was aimed to add only a daring facet to the otherwise quite simple mixture, you know, just a spark, an intriguing effect, sadly this peculiar element exceeded the limit of my tolerance. I would have loved it as a simple, nice mixture of flowers and musks because the ingredients are of good quality here and usually work well together. It is the same situation as while painting when that small informative sketch made with only a few lines is way better as the finished painting on canvas…The fragrance hangs for a long time on skin, smelling a little nicer from the distance therefore I have to be very altruistic to endure the scent on myself for the pleasure of others around me who will surely enjoy its sillage getting only the powdery and suave aspects of the scent.

The scent was: Xerjoff Dama Bianca
Official notes: lime, kumquat, italian iris, egyptioan jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, violet, lilac, sandalwood, cedar, vanilla, ambrette (musk mallow), white musk, malt
Longevity: up to 8 hours
Sillage: moderate

Conclusion: this is a clear case of “maybe the problem is me, not the scent!” Poor Dama Bianca would have had all the chances to be perfect. She was born in a noble family and at her baptism the good fairies gave her only the best of the best ingredients, as for example pods of vanilla from Madagascar, the most creamy sandalwood, the tall beautiful irises and the most fluffy and delicate musk. The good fairies have predicted that Dama Bianca will be loved and admired and she will become the signature scent of many perfumistas during her life.
But her noble parents forgot to invite the oldest fairy called Ambretta, which occurs unexpectedly and ruins the beautiful celebration of the young princess Bianca.
The note of ambrette never appealed to me, because usually it adds a massive oily-sweet smell, clogging everything. Especially if the scent already had sweet vanilla and musk notes, I find it absurd to bring this ingredient in such a generous amount. The young Dama Bianca loses therefore all her natural grace and purity and the charming prince will never ask her hand. She will remain a surly old Madame Bianca having a long, sad life with habits and bunions at her feet.

Sample number 2

Oh, you nasty chewy pink gardenia!

This provoking and artificial opening is taking me as a hostage inside an enormous chewingum balloon and I have no fresh air to breath or a good escaping plan. But there`s no need to panic, this was just a funny start of an otherwise very nice and adorable scent. The pinkish sweet accords are soon going to be tamed down and the composition becomes more refined due to a savory citrus note that makes extra sweetness go away and brings me back to my senses.
I smell more clear now also the natural gardenia as voluptuous as it is in nature, so this scent might be an interesting one to discover for those who love white flowers. The base is splendid, caressing my skin like the best velvet. Rarely do I find a scent that starts so vulgar but ends so noble. It has many positive changes throughout it`s development so for all the efforts and creativity involved I`m giving it 5 stars. And I think I`m ready for a full bottle.

The scent was: MDCI Nuit Andalouse
Official notes: orange, violet, green notes, gardenia, ylang-ylang, rose, orange blossom, vanilla, sandalwood, amyl salicylate

Conclusion: what a nice surprise, specially coming from a house that does not take any risks usually. The scents from MDCI are so well mannered and extremely elegant so it is a pleasantly surprise to encounter some naughtiness in Nuit Andalouse, even if this daring facet fades away quickly. It made me interested.

For the following tests things will be a little bit more difficult, because Sjörn joyned the game by sending me some anonymous samples to try, only with numbers written on their labels. Andrenaline for the nose! I will do for now two tests, and leave the other three samples for the next time.

Sample number 3

Whoaaa…what a gorgeously green opening!

I see floating in the air written with capital letters the word “QUALITY”. Before I start guessing the notes and observe how it develops I have to take another deep breath of this, then another one and another one…

For a few minutes I considered not writing this review immediately, of fear not to spoil the moment. But I still have enough in the sample and besides, I`m sure I will not wear it, only because it is so masculine. They say “wear what you like”, well, I`m not just enjoing it, I`m crazy about this scent but I would be more happy if my man would make it his signature during summer. Maybe when he finishes Treffpunkt 9 Uhr Schwarzlose Berlin he will receive this as a gift. A gift I`ll make also for myself ;).

SO! I have a woody green scent on my hand. It starts with an extremely aromatic and unapologetic, kind of fierce manner. I hope I am not wrong but I smell good vetiver here and the amount is big. It has to be vetiver, ha ha! In the opening the scent is dominated by this moist, cool vetiver, exactly how I prefer it, as if the perfumeur knew very well what treasure he was using and intentionally casted this note in the main role. The plot is simple, yet very effective. The vetiver remains permanently the key note, receiving citrusy aspects over time that support its effervescent character, and also some green undertones, like fresh cut grass together with some wild plants reflected in an icy cold mountain river. I`m glad leather wasn`t added, or any other oriental note, it would have made it too dirty. Instead the citrusy-green combo along the vetiver is just perfect. Even if they do not smell alike I could make an analogy at some point, mostly in the first part between this and Invasion Barbare form MDCI in terms of the effect of that woody-aromatic unleashed notes. Eventually over time Invasion Barbare becomes more soapy, and the scent I`m testing remains loyal to that cool freshness.

The scent was: Olfactive Studio Flash Back
Oficial notes: rhubarb, orange, grapefruit, apple, pink pepper, amber, musk, vetiver, cedar
Longevity: about 4 hours (maybe it can seem week on hot days)
Sillage: moderate

Conclusion:a creative, new take on the citrusy-vetiver theme, modern, masculine and so darn sexy! It tones down gently leaving just a subtle trace of vetiver behind …like a whisper.

Sample number 4

It starts sweet definitely so I should be in my territory here meaning the fragrance is feminine and gourmand, but this is not my vision of gourmand.
A no-flower scent – that`s for sure, creamy right from the start. If the opening was a bit uncertain smelling like a bowl of candies of all sorts, soon it became clear that this perfume wants to dedicate all his life to vanilla. It is like a big pool filled with vanilla pudding. And as same as with puddings, it may satisfy your sweet craving in no time, but is also very artificial and not the best dessert you deserve. No vanilla pod smells so strident. My guess is that all the vanillic chemical aromas ever produced were blended here in order to obtain a Jupiter sized vanilla scent just to prove that is possible. But wait! This is not everything. Even if the scent remains flat, barely breathing under the heavy layer of vanilla, it still has enough energy to offer a little surprise, but unfortunately this isn`t saving it at all. If some might still not consider it sweet enough, there`s a generous praline-like tone glued in the base like a melted caramel in a child’s pocket. An accord that smells like crushed almonds and coconut flakes. After a long…very long time spend on my skin it became…powdery. But it was to late to forgive him. Let`s find out who is this vanilla creature:

The scent was: LM Parfums Sensual Orchid
Official notes: mandarin orange, almond, neroli, orchid, jasmin sambac, ylang-ylang, peony, heliotrope, vanilla, musk, woody notes, cedar, labdanum, benzoin
Longevity: long, it lasted from 21 in the evening until I woke up in the morning and took a shower, even after that I still get a faint vanilla
Sillage: heavy
Conclusion: an über-gourmand scent based on an illegal amount of vanilla. Funny thing is that I have a small decant of this recived as a gift, but I have never found a perfect occasion to wear it. Maybe I never will.

Hi, my name is Raluca! I am born in Romania and live in Switzerland for many years. I love perfumes since I was a little girl and now I am an avid perfume collector and totally dedicated to the amazing world of essences. I am always looking for something new and interesting to discover and among my personal preferences are the delicate and powdery notes, but also some bold orientals. I admire both clasic and niche fragrances with a special twist in them. A good perfume for me should be able to put me in a special mood, to complete and inspire me…things I need when I paint or do photography, my other two passions.

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