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Waters + Wild: Cedarwood & Cognac

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One of the reasons that I enjoy my frequent travels to Ireland is the olfactory delights that greet me on the Emerald isle, particularly in the west of the country, where earth meets water meets sky on a daily basis. The lush green grasses, ferns and trees that can be found from its rich soil, the salty and ‘seaweedy’ air emanating from the rocky or sandy coastline, and the water that permeates absolutely everything (having once asked how frequently it rains in Ireland, I was told one can experience each of the four seasons every day in Ireland…although all of them involve rain).

Cierge de Lune by Aedes de Venustas

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If you were to define the late 1990’s, early 2000’s by a smell, you’d do worse than point to sultry floral vanillas such as Hypnotic Poison (milky almond), the original Dior Addict (boozy night flower vanilla), Organza Indecence (spiced eggnog), and Kenzo Amour (creamed rice). These perfumes all share a faintly sleazy, morning-after-the-night-before quality, like a woman who stumbles out of a bar at 6am, mascara smudged, and clothes reeking of cigarette smoke.

Castaña by Cloon Keen Atelier

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Have you ever felt like you’ve missed the boat on a certain brand or a fragrance? I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling. Given the depressing frequency of botched reformulations and senseless axings, the life of a fragrance enthusiast is often fraught with the fear of missing out or, worse, the agony of knowing that you failed to strike while the iron was hot.

I’m no stranger to missed chances myself. I arrived too late on the perfume scene to scoop up two fragrances that would later become big loves of mine, namely Guerlain’s Vega and Attrape-Coeur. I dithered on Dior Privée Mitzah until it was gone – ditto Eau Noire. I had a bottle of Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps d’Une Fete, and stupidly sold it; by the time I’d realized my mistake, that too disappeared into the ether, along whatever raw material that made its production impossible. Other bottles carelessly sold or swapped away were Fendi Theorema, a bottle of pre-1950’s Chanel No. 5 extrait, and a large decant of Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit that I missed desperately the minute I’d mailed it off to its lucky recipient. I can almost feel you all wincing out there, so I won’t continue. I’m embarrassed. KEEP ON READING

Al Waad (Promise) by Dominique Ropion for Frederic Malle

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The ad copy for Al Waad (Promise) by perfumer Dominique Ropion for Les Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle reads as follows:

“Frédéric Malle celebrates two precious varieties of rose in the Promise Eau de Parfum.

A harmonious blend of rose essence from Bulgaria and rose absolute from Turkey are lifted by apple, pink pepper and clove, and bound to a sensuous base of patchouli, cypriol and labdanum for a truly unbreakable accord.”

I agree with the “truly unbreakable accord” bit. I sprayed this on at 2pm yesterday and as of 2pm today, Promise is still there. But while one can’t argue with its performance, I’m ambivalent about whether it’s outstayed its welcome on the piece of skin real estate stretching from my right wrist to inner elbow. KEEP ON READING

Tabac Blond versus Tabac Blond

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Lately, I’ve been testing dupe oils against the original fragrances to see how they measure up. It’s for the attar book I’m writing – I realized that dupe oils fall into the broad category of concentrated perfume oils and that people are intensely interested in them. I went into the exercise reluctantly, fully expecting to hate the dupe oils on principle for lazily copying someone else’s hard work. And I do.

But I’ll admit: I learned some interesting things. Chiefly, that (a) dupes succeed best when they’re copying a fragrance with a simple structure, like Jo Malone perfumes and some of the Tom Fords, (b) that some dupes are so scarily close to the original that it becomes very difficult to justify shelling out for the original, no matter how much that makes me grit my teeth, and finally, (c) one can be perfectly happy with a dupe – ecstatic even – until you wear it side by side with the original. KEEP ON READING

Histoires de Parfums Irrévérent and Outrecuidant

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Irrévérent and Outrecuidant are two of three new releases by the French brand, Histoires de Parfums (the other one is Prolixe, which was unavailable when I was buying samples). I’m always interested in sampling the new releases from Histoires de Parfums, as it was one of the first niche houses I loved, but in the last few years, I just haven’t been able to keep up. Luckily, while browsing a French site, I spotted samples of the newest Histoires de Parfums fragrances and just jumped on it. And I’m glad I did, because both are pretty darned great. KEEP ON READING

Atelier Cologne’s Gold Leather: Fruity Goodness

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You are slumped on a Chesterfield sofa, cradling a tumbler of Bacardi in your hands.  You have just binged your way through a whole packet of Jaffa Cakes. Life is good. How do you smell?  Even better!  Atelier Cologne’s Gold Leather summons up exactly this image, with some plum and woods thrown into the mix.

Christophe Cervasel and Sylvie Ganter, creators and founders of Atelier Cologne, met in New York in 2006 and realized that they shared a passion for classic Eau de Cologne. Together, they created the first fragrance house entirely dedicated to cologne—colognes so special that they are meant to be worn as pure perfumes. Since then, they have become darlings of the niche world, creating high quality, well-blended fragrances each centered around a core note (vetiver, vanilla, neroli, etc.). KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: L’Art de la Guerre by Jovoy Paris

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Sometimes marketing just gets in the way of a fragrance. L’Art de la Guerre by Jovoy Paris is a scent where the marketing behind the name is superfluous and unnecessary. Luckily, the fragrance doesn’t need it.

Moving right along while intentionally ignoring the name, L’Art de la Guerre is classified as an oriental fougere, and rightly so; oriental fougeres typically use sweet notes—often vanilla or amber—to both compliment and contrast the fresh masculinity of the fougere accord. To some extent, this genre is populated with a vast array of derivative and decrepit scents that combine titanic doses of lavender and vanilla with not even the slightest hint of ingenuity. It is a breath of fresh air when a fragrance comes along that doesn’t fit that very traditional mold, and perfumer Vanina Muracciole deserves artistic credit for managing to revitalize a rather stale genre. KEEP ON READING

A Patrician Personality: Czech & Speake’s Oxford & Cambridge

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Certain fragrances bring to mind an image of class, wealth, and sophistication. For me, these scents are simple, usually modeled after the eau de cologne, and impeccable in both quality and design. Some of my favorite examples are the great Acqua di Parma Colonia, Creed’s exquisite Pure White Cologne, and the elegant Roja Parfums Danger Pour Homme. Put on a nice pair of slacks, shoes, and a tailored shirt, then spritz on one of those fragrances—you’ll see exactly what I mean, as they will lift the spirit and perhaps the ego (but hopefully not too much). Another fragrance in this style is Oxford & Cambridge by Czech & Speake. KEEP ON READING

It seems like Johnny Cash meets Andy Tauer in Tauerville’s Patch Flash.

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Before I commence, you will have to muster the courage to S-P-R-I-N-T and not run to the nearest fragrance outlet and procure this latest hit fragrance from the never disappointing Tauerville line. For this latest Tauergville adventure it almost seems like the Andy challenges us to summon our inner rogue with some really beautiful but tough ingredients with a  certain twist that only Taueville can implement with the result being total success. Patch Flash takes a different route than the current ‘outlaw-rebel’ perfume with a leading summertime blockbuster movie actor. Patch flash is rich with splendid waves of patchouli and bad ass ancillaries that it seems like the face of the this perfume should be Johnny Cash. Patch Flash is tough, witty and uncompromising like the legendary American Blues-Country-Rock-Folk-Soul music icon Johnny Cash. This fragrance is more like the unabashed Johnny Cash playing live to convicts at Fulsom Prison in California on January 13, 1968. Cash performed hits like ‘Cocaine Blues’ , ‘Send a picture of mother’, ‘Flushed from the Bathroom of your Heart’ and even one of his most unabashed songs; ‘Dirty Old Egg suckin Dog’. His performance at Folsom prison would go down as one of the greatest live performances in American history leading to 5X platinum sales to this date! with just an acoustic guitar at times Cash beaugarded his way into the hearts and minds of millions and quite possibly has reincarnated in Patch Flash, just possibly. Was Andy Tauer maybe Johnny Cash in a past life…maybe so. Lets find out. KEEP ON READING

I’ve Found That Essence Rare

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Are you old enough to remember the fiercely intelligent and progressive punk band Gang of Four in their prime in 1979, when they sang “I’ve found that essence rare, it’s what I’ve looked for/I knew I’d get what I asked for” ?  Back then, when I was wildly dancing to this song, I thought the refrain was abstractly philosophical, but amidst lyrics referring to popular culture, consumerism, and politics, it may be that the band was riffing on a contemporary advertising campaign for Houbigant’s Essence Rare perfume

Got Driftwood? By Mirus Perfumes

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Driftwood is an impeccable presentation of wood finally meeting the beach and its myriad of comforting and uplifting scents. Minus makes an attempt to position in our sporadic collective minds a lone but rogue piece of driftwood-with its hollow and neutral mature woody scent-washing upon the shores of a beach, lake, lagoon or however you choose your likeliness. Please do know that driftwood has your expectations covered and quite nicely.

The Wood and sea theme has quite possibly run its course with so many fragrances to choose from and maybe less than a handful that really smell like what they are supposed to represent. However, Driftwood is impressive to say the most. It is thrice soothing with an interesting take on sandalwood and cedar that leaves the impression of smoky oud and the soothing scent of freshly lit match. But thats the only the beginning in Driftwood. KEEP ON READING

Wear a leather jacket

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It’s getting chillier and after my last post about Chypres, I started thinking about other categories of fragrance that might be good at this time of year. It’s the perfect time of year to re-organise your cupboards for a new season and bring out the leather.

Leather fragrances, like chypres, hark back to the age of glamour and romance, summed up by the classic movies of the 40s, 50s and 60s. Can’t you picture Cary Grant or Kathryn Hepburn wise-cracking and arching an eyebrow sardonically while wearing crisp tailoring and smelling elegantly of leather with a faint hint of roses or sandalwood? KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Bond no. 9’s Sutton Place

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Recently Bond has been gaining a lot of positive press in the fragrance forums. In particular, Bleecker Street has become a bit of a hot commodity, and through Bleecker, many enthusiasts are discovering their other offerings.

Enter Sutton Place, a hypermodern Bond no.9 fragrance with a bottle that won’t give children nightmares. Admittedly, when I first saw the bottle and description of this fragrance, I knew that I had to get my hands on a sample.

Surprisingly, it turns out that the refined, masculine bottle fits the character of this fragrance. Before reading the sample, I read on the forums that it smells like Aventus (why does everything have to smell like Aventus?). As usual, this fragrance doesn’t smell like Aventus. And there is no actual similarity except for the vanillic and fruity elements. KEEP ON READING

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