Niche Fragrance Magazine

Blind dates with scents

in Reviews by

A few days ago when I was looking for a sample of Molinard to do a review, I couldn`t find it in the drawer among the rest of samples and for the moment it was very frustrating. Years and years of big curiosity regarding so many interesting scents ended in accumulating extremely many samples, so I finally decided that it`s time to start organising those poor ones somehow and test them again, one by one.

But then…a crazy idea came to my mind. Why not doing blind tests with some of them and write some “raw” reviews? I wondered how my nose and my whole being would react at scents if I deliberately chose to undress them of all that jazz and get straight into the SCENT.

SO how I planned do that: I randomly picked many niche samples without looking at their names and wrapped them all in matte white duct tape. After that, I started testing them on skin and wrote my impressions right away. This post is the result of the first day when I tested five, but there are more to come.
The result of this experiment was mind-blowing, the suspense was incredible and the surprise in the end was priceless.

Scent Number 1:

To my luck the experiment starts good. This is pretty, light and gentle. Undoubtful feminine. A clean scent with a sophisticated edge. The opening is bloomy having a very faint soapy accent behind and the whole structure is so diaphanous, very nice blended.
It reminds me of full bloomed magnolias and peonies caressed by warm rays of sun. In time, the scent changes gently it`s structure morphing into a more powdery scent while an interesting soft spicy accord comes to the surface binding tightly the bouquet, but carefully not to crush the dried flowers. The spices, deprived of harsh edges or dirtiness pair wonderful with the petals of the flowers, adding some bones to the structure. Their mixture is just adorable. I imagine a pretty young girl with long blonde hair, dressed-up in a dusty pink ballet tutu wearing this at her first premiere. She binds her leather point-shoes with satin bands near an opened window and a delicate flower smell from the garden is filling the room. This perfume reminds me a little of Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Nymphea, like a toned-down version of it with less honey. As I said, the fragrance is light and has a short sillage, but weak it is not, as to my surprise it remained very long on skin.

The scent was: Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede
Official notes: red apple; peony; suede
Longevity: about 8 hours – impressive for a cologne concentration
Sillage: short
Conclusion: I`m delighted that I could recognize the peony, but I simply didn`t get any hint of suede though. Nevertheless, a keeper.

Blind testing

Scent Number 2:

This starts so daring. OOOOHHH and I smell a huge tuberose right from the start! A green, dusty tuberose, with no flashy aspects yet. This perfume is familiar to me, but as I have so many tuberose centered full scent bottles and samples it is impossible to tell immediately what it is. And clean floral scent, very luminous. It has mega-power but it doesn`t create me any discomfort. It is lovable. What is it? I need it! How could I have forgotten about this sample? Well, let`s see: Carnal Flower it is not, for sure, I would recognize this one on an instant. This one is a much more rounded and warm tuberose. I would say it comes close to Bubblegum Chic from Heeley, but more polite and alluring. After a half an hour it tones down a bit and some other flowers are jumping in creating now a perfect white flowers bouquet with a big tuberose in the middle. Therefore even if it remains true to tuberose it seems quite complex and could not be mistaken with a soliflore. There is a subtle dose of sensuality in this blend, but not so erotic as Carnal Flower manages to be. It seems creamy if smelled close from the skin and the tuberose tends to be more pronounced from the distance. I bet this perfume is made of precious raw materials, I smell nature in this one.

The scent was: Au Pays de la Fleur d`Oranges Tubéreuse Rosée
Official notes:tuberose, rose, spices, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, musk
Longevity: up to 7-8 hours. I applied it in the evening also on the beck of my neck and still noticed the scent in my hair the next day at noon. Impressive power.
Sillage: heavy
Conclusion: That was weird, how couldn`t I recognize it right away? I did a review of this scent last summer ( here), but I never opened the sample again since then. Well, this blind test really helped me consider a full bottle. A great white floral scent, not sticky or cloying. Well…kinda. Avoid if you don`t like tuberose.

Scent number 3:

An icy fresh male scent! Cool, aromatic and cold like a glass of summer boozy blend. I enjoy smelling it on me, it`s simply yummy and somehow gives me energy. There`s sure a big amount of woods involved here. Woods are the base and on their surface a nice blend of moist vetiver, aromatic green plants and peels of citruses is floating. It reminds me of J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin Treffpunkt 9 Uhr, due to the moist, very present and delish vetiver. Still, this one tends to become a bit rounder in time, while Treffpunkt`s vetiver cuts the air much longer as it is way more sharper. The blind test scent softness down the citruses quite much as time goes by and after several hours it smells like a Gyokuro green tea – one of the best – served at room temperature in an elegant wood armchair. Amazing scent for summer.

The scent was: Mark Buxton Wood and Absinth
Official notes: wormwood, clary sage, jasmine, rosewood, vetiver, cedar wood
Longevity: around 8 hours
Sillage: medium
Conclusion: If you`re looking for a shinny masculine scent for hot days with a great vetiver in the leading role, this one might be very interesting.

Blind test2

Scent number 4:

The opening has a clear vintage vibe, but it is impossible to be an old fragrance as I do not have many vintage samples and I`m sure I didn`t mixed one of those with the niches ones for these experiment. This scent has lots and lots of spices, warm resins and some dried flowers too but they are crushed into a light powder that is blended smoothly with the spices. The smell reminds me of the good old Opium YSL but with a modern twist and is really nice. Not as statuesque as Opium, but a good follower (this is how YSL should have made the new flanker of Opium!). Velvety, warm, creamy, mysterious. The base possesses an elegant sweetness, but I don`t think this comes from vanilla, but more from a subdued tone of riped fruits and some patchouli here and that adds a touch of earthiness to the oriental structure. I`m impressed, but somehow I still love my Opium more.

The scent was: Frederic Malle Noir Epices
Official notes: nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, orange, geranium, sandalwood and pathcouli
Longevity: it`s an oriental and the spices are not going to leave anywhere. About 8 hours (good, but still half of the time Opium spends on my skin).
Sillage: medium
Conclusion: for a moment, and being sure it`s not Opium, I thought I was testing the sample of Carthusia Fiori di Capri which also has some Opium genes in my opinion, but in short time it was clear to me it couldn`t`be that, because Fiori di Capri is more floral and this scent only played on different spice rhythms in every stage. It is very interesting as a whole, but is hard for me to wear. It would be like an extravagant piece of clothing that you keep safe but don`t have an occasion to wear so you just take it out sometimes to admire the fine texture of the fabric and the impeccable cut and then place it back in the drawer with a sigh. Noir Epices is that long elegant fur coat in my case, warm and smooth, but which doesn`t reflect my present style.

Scent number 5:

Again another cold fragrance, but not in the same vein as the cool play of the woods and aromatic plants from the above described Wood and Absinth. This one had me on the edge of my seat right from the beginning smelling very weird on my skin and the sensation I got was like being poorly dressed in a humid and extremely cold weather. In the darkness. The opening was extremely rough and sharp, piercing my nose like a bayonet and forcing me to move foreword in a mysterious emerald forest while a frosty wind blow through the old pines branches whipping my body. Zesty citruses, bitter accords, pine and incense placed as a guest-star formed an enormous spooky fog bank around me, cutting my breath. The scent punched my stomach for an hour, gradually losing some of it`s initial power and becoming an insolent fresh cologne, still keeping the rudeness hidden behind those marble cold notes. It is a masculine citrus scent frozen by a generous amount of incense. Original to the point of being too strange. I have absolutely no clue what it might be so let`s remove the duct tape from the sample…

The scent was: Mark Birley Mark Birley for Men
Official notes: cedar, sandalwood, vetiver, incense, musk, violet, carrot seeds, bergamot, lemon and mandarin
Sillage: heavy
Conclusion: that was a surprise! I remember that I received this sample in a swap a couple of years ago and put it a side, knowing it`s not my thing at all. Overall, as much as I do enjoy many unisex fresh composition this one is truly out of my comfort zone. It may be your soul mate scent only if you carry well rough pine, citruses and incense combos huge in power.

I think my nose needs a pause now. Stay tuned for the next chapter of blind tests!

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.

1 Comment

  1. This is such great fun! I actually did this blind testing method with a range of O’Driu samples on my blog a couple of months ago. It’s interesting what you can and can’t detect, isn’t it?!

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