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Amouage

Histoires de Parfums Irrévérent and Outrecuidant

in Reviews/Thoughts by

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

The Smell of Learning: Byredo Bibliothèque & Other Stories

in Lists/Thoughts by

 

Like most people, I love the smell of books. But my search for that book smell in perfume form has proved a problematic and often frustrating one.

Part of the challenge has been figuring out what it is that I want, exactly. Do I want to smell literally like a book? No, as it turns out, I don’t. Perfumes that smell literally like paper or ink are too on-the-nose for me. The best perfumes are those that bring you only 50% of the way, like those mood rings that require body heat for activation. A perfume that does all the heavy lifting for my imagination is no fun at all. KEEP ON READING

All that glisters

in Reviews by

This is an historic day: the 45th President of the United States of America is being sworn in. I shan’t open political debate, but I will say that this has been a controversial election unlike any other in modern memory, and it’s provoking a lot of reaction. Knowing that I would be reviewing today I considered my choice very carefully.

As Voltaire said: ‘I have decided to be happy because it is good for my health’. I’m going to rise above flippancy, fatalism or bragadoccio and consider what to wear on A Very Big Day. When I looked in my perfume cupboard (yes, a whole cupboard, I am obsessed) I could set aside whole categories of fragrance: eau de colognes, citruses, gourmands and greens can all stay home. For the truly grand occasion I break out the big guns: orientals and chypres. My choice for today is something that I think of as a classic oriental as it has the elegant chic of a classic chypre coupled with the rich spicy presence of an oriental: Amouage Gold pour Femme. KEEP ON READING

Sammarco Naias – Deconstructing Violet

in Reviews by

When I heard that Giovanni Sammarco had shown mods of a yet-to-be-announced violet perfume called Naias at Pitti to a couple of friends, I began to salivate. Then, after wiping the drool from my keyboard, I asked for a sample. (More likely, I begged).

For the past year or so, violets have been a sort of secret passion of mine, and I’ve been collecting samples and even small bottles of some of what I see as the standouts in the genre. Opus III for a grand, oriental violet, Stephen Jones for weird crunchy space rocks, vintage Jolie Madame for leather, Insolence for trashy charm, Aimez Moi for kittenish cheer, Bois de Violette for candied darkness, and McQueen for grungy face powder. But each violet added to the collection shrinks the space left for others – could Naias really bring something new to the table? KEEP ON READING

Amouage Opus X – A Story of Blood, Violins, & Metal

in Reviews by

 

Slumbering my way down the line of modern Amouage releases, I tripped over Opus X and was jolted awake. Not rose, I thought, but rhubarb and custard sweets, with a green note so acid that it could strip the enamel from my teeth and the protective lining from my tongue. Amazing – superb! A metallic, oxidized rose that will either slit you or crumble away into dried blood flakes.

The convoluted Amouage back story makes sense this time – a 1681 violin maker loses his wife in childbirth, and sobbing, he rubs her blood into the rosin of the violin he is making so as to allow some part of her to live on forever. The story, told in the 1998 film, “Red Violin,” has the violin passing from generation to generation, causing sorrow wherever it goes. KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Amouage Journey Man

in Reviews by

I’m not a big fan of spicy fragrances. Other than a few notable exceptions, modern entries into the genre tend to descend into this beastly and unmistakably cheap woody amber base. Often worse, those that don’t deploy amber with a heavy hand tend to distinguish themselves (or not) with an equally generic tonka bean that overloads the senses in the late dry down. The scents I’m describing all smell the same: boring and tedious. No need to name names. You know what sorts of fragrances I’m referencing. KEEP ON READING

Everything is Orange: The Best Orange Fragrances for Men

in Reviews/Thoughts by

Orange and its derivatives are some of the most popular notes in all of perfumery. Depending on how they are presented and what portions of the tree are used (orange, orange blossom, neroli, and petitgrain are all derivatives of the orange tree), orange-based fragrances often come across as uplifting and clean. After testing a large portion of the niche market, here are some of my picks of the best orange-based fragrances for men:

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino: Neroli Portofino is on many of my top lists for a good reason. This is the epitome of the fresh neroli fragrances and is a classic cologne that actually lasts, especially in the heat of the summer. Mixing soapy oceanic accords with neroli, Neroli Portofino straddles the gap between a classical cologne and modern aquatic. Two flankers – Acqua and Forte – were recently released, and while the Acqua is totally forgettable and fleeting, the Forte would be nice for folks who would prefer a less soapy version of the original with added leather. KEEP ON READING

Amouage Opus III: chasing the light

in Reviews by

Finally we had some beautiful, sunny days on this bit of earth facing the Atlantic ocean. Such days are few and far in between and they are celebrated with all the panache of colourful flip flops, Hawaiian shirts and cotton Bermudas revealing skin so white, it’s almost translucent. And despite the sharp breeze still giving everyone goosebumps, we try really hard to convince ourselves that, yes, the elusive creature called Spring, or even the other more sacred monster called Summer, has eventually graced our shores. Alas, despite the fervency, the blind belief, the masses of people spread on the park’s green lawns, I can’t buy into it. This is not Summer. Hell, is not even Spring. I know Spring when I see it, and mostly when I feel it, with my skin, my nose, the tip of my fingers and my tongue, because yes I used to lick dew off lilacs when I was young and I still feel an irresistible urge to inhale and taste every rain kissed flower I see. Oh, those gentle late Spring showers, lasting just enough to underline the beauty all around, how I miss them! And how I miss the warmth, that lazy, langurous warmth, so indolent, so relaxed, like a cat stretching on her back showing a fluffy belly and half closed slanted eyes. To know that heat and sun weren’t going to suddenly disappear, that they’ll be there the next day, and the day after that and so on, like a trusted, loyal friend, well, what can I say? It was pure bliss. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fierce, terrible beauty of Ireland with its rugged coastlines, sweeping winds over the evergreen fields, grey, foaming sea and laden skies. This beauty has made a lily-white Celtic warrior out of me, just like the rest. But inside my soft, yielding heart the rounded, sensuous, mellow Spring of my homeland lives on, brewing gently inside this nostalgic feeling I can never really shake off. KEEP ON READING

The Different Company I miss Violet: sappy rapture

in Reviews by

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I’m having a violet fixation. And an iris one. And it’s only getting worse. As time goes by, rich, powdery, wet-earthy fragrances centred around flowers like violet, iris, mimosa, osmanthus and any other ones with a vaguely leathery, animalic facet are the only ones I feel like buying. It all started with Une Fleur de Cassie, a shameless mimosa, continuing with Iris Silver Mist, iris as an artistic statement, Dans tes Bras the weirdo violet, L’Heure Bleue an unforgettable classic, Infusion d’Iris Absolue so refined, so posh, Dzongkha the weirdo iris, a blind buy of Opus III prompted by Claire’s review on her blog Take One Thing Off (crossing my fingers and toes for that one), and now The Different Company I miss Violet. And in spite of having Dans tes bras, which to me is like Après l’Ondée with Christmas lights on and spaceship technology, guess what: I want to have Après l’Ondée too, even if it lasts about half an hour at most. But I’ve long given up staring at the bottomless pit of my perfume hobby insanity and trying to do something about it, so let’s move on. So far I’ve given you a long list of iris, violet, mimosa themed things and the list could be longer still. Maybe not when it comes to mimosa, but iris and violet combos in various permutations have been done to death. It is a crowded field, and making one more seems like almost counterintuitive but The Different Company I miss Violet is to me the missing link between the neon lit flirtatious femininity of the lipsticked gang of iris-violets and the earthy, more plaintive and naturalistic band of the hippie chic violets. By bridging this apparently opposite styles I miss Violet becomes the happiest bohemian violet I’ve ever had my nose on. Created by Bertrand Duchaufour for “La Collection Excessive” I miss Violet is marketed as a floral-leather, but in my view the leather aspect is negligible, in the form of a slightly sueded, velvety finish, most apparent in the base. The true showstopper is the complex, indeed excessive, floral accord which marries sweet-powdery effects with a green apple crunch, a kind of shimmering aldehydic fizz and something which resembles vegetal sap, or how I imagine this to smell like: watery, green, fruity sweet and a little bit salty at the same time. Osmanthus, with its edible, delicious nuances of apricot jam is also coming through very strongly alongside a beautiful mimosa note. The whole things smells absolutely vibrant, alive with a glowing splendor. It is sophisticated and coquettish, reminding me of lipstick, powder and silky dresses but it goes way beyond that, into real joy territory, into living the moment with absolute intensity. With I miss Violet you don’t have to choose: you can have both ditzy, perhaps a touch vacuous prettiness and wild, rebellious abandon: like rolling on damp earth, laughing, crushing under your body delicate purple flowers, ripe fruits, sappy stems and blades of grass while wearing the softest, most luxurious suede frock and a face full of make-up. But you don’t care anymore: smeared lipstick, stained dress, messy hair what difference does it make when for the first time in years you’re able to experience again all-conquering, innocent, delirious glee. This is what I feel when wearing I miss Violet and I don’t give a damn about the fact it wears close to skin after the first, explosive half an hour. I’d give what I paid for my bottle and more to do pirouettes again and again surrounded by clouds of sweet powders in the nacre colours of an Abalone shell. KEEP ON READING

James Heeley Chypre 21

in Reviews by

The term “chypre” seems to be a rather fluid one these days. Technically, in order to be classified as a chypre, a fragrance should contain bergamot, labdanum, and oakmoss. But you can drive yourself crazy trying to sort perfumes into chypre and non-chypre categories, checking off notes lists, and so on.

In general, the nose can recognize a chypre right away, because of its immediately recognizable Yin and Yang of sweet and bitter. In its entirety, a chypre should smell the way a perfectly balanced Chinese meal tastes, with the bitterness and saltiness of oakmoss contrasting the brightness of the citrus, and the ambery base softening and sweetening the final “taste”. KEEP ON READING

Three Great Non-Rose-y Oud Fragrances

in Reviews by

Is anyone here just a teeny tiny bit tired of the rose-oud combination? Don’t get me wrong – there are days when I still crave that wonderful combination of smoky, sour oud and sweet rose. But increasingly, I am turning to oud fragrances that either do away with the rose part of the equation, or bury the oud in dark woods and crisp leather so that it becomes more of a bit player than the main attraction.

The key words here are subtlety and novelty. Can oud be presented in a manner that surprises and pleases even the most jaded of palates? Here are my thoughts on a few fragrances I’ve been testing recently that place the oud note in a new light. KEEP ON READING

A rose is a rose is a rose: 5 favorites.

in Reviews by

A rose, is a rose, is a rose, right? All roses are not created equal, thank God. This time of the year, Spring, St. Valentine’s Day, always put me in the mood for rose-based fragrances. There’s something sensual attached to this delicate flowery, a phenomena I can’t explain, but one of these will be my scent of the night for Valentine’s Day.

Atelier Cologne- Rose Anonyme 

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Probably the most playful of the bunch. Rose, oud, patchouli, backed by a gang of fresh ginger, lime, and earthiness. Rose Anonyme starts off with a jammy rose, maybe, the truest to itself in this set. It turns a bit dirty as it transforms and herbaceous near the mid to dry down. Although, I feel as if I have to be dressed to the nines with any rose-based endeavor, Anonyme has a more playful side, it’s not as serious as the others and could probably be as casual as it is suit and tie appropriate. KEEP ON READING

How does the Fragrance Daily team smell at Christmas Eve?

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Fragrance Daily CHRISTMAS SpecialOh Christmas, oh Christmas – it truly is a very special time of the year. Despite all the commercialism, there is still this magic floating in the air, a relic from your very personal childhood. The silence that covers the snow on a Sunday morning walk, the December-long frenzy of activity that culminates in legendary and often disastrous family events and the breathtaking peace of the morning after – all wonderful. The feeling of seeing one’s beloved or estranged family members once a year, the joy of symbolically putting the whole “old” year behind us, and the act of preparing for the new one. And on top of that all: the fragrances that encapsulate this special time for us, that pervade our senses, and make Christmas time so remarkable and unique. KEEP ON READING

Oud Shamash by The Different Company

in Reviews by

I wish I didn’t like this so much. It’s beyond my budget (like, totally beyond my budget). But even worse, smelling this, I got that sickening feeling you get when you invest $$$$ in an iPhone4 just two days before the iPhone5 launches. Damn that Betrand Duchaufour if he hasn’t improved upon about three or four of his previous perfumes with Oud Shamash. And sure enough, I own some of those early models…

Something about the combination of the fruity incense smell (davana) and the dry woods reminds me of Timbuktu or even of Jubilation XXV, both also by Duchaufour. There’s also a toasty, slightly sugared “bread” aroma here that reminds of the dry-toasted cumin seeds in Al Oudh (Duchaufour again).  But Oud Shamash does not have the stark stillness of Timbuktu, the armpitty, disturbingly sugary funk of Al Oudh, or the glowing, ruby-red orientalism of Jubilation XXV – rather, it has the dusty, faded brilliance of a complex brocade that has been folded up and stored in a wooden casket for two centuries. It’s a ghost. KEEP ON READING

Pick 5– edition Amouage.

in Reviews by

Who has never heard of Amouage at this point? Amouage is a clear winner in modern perfumery and the production of niche scents. Amouage’s creations earmark opulence and decadence and place a thoughtful creative process, that can feel rushed while exploring other notable houses. Having “Amouage quality” is synonymous to modern creations being; opulent, of high value and quality. With that said, Amouage for some people, can be the gateway into niche perfume or their departure. To my fondness, Amouage has hardly failed in delivery of brash, complex and challenging scents, but I did not always reside with that sentiment. So, here are my “Pick 5’s” for those that are new to this or the many that departed and care to revisit. These deserve a bit of your time! KEEP ON READING

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