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Diptyque

Smoke, Woods, & Resins: Top 15 for Fall/Winter

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2016 has been a bad year for celebrity deaths and an even worse one for celebrity presidential elections, so I’ve found myself craving and wearing mostly woody, resinous perfumes that perform like one long howling basenote, working my tired neck muscles like a Russian massage therapist. This year, no roses, no leathers, and no ambers – just a long line of calming, resinous woods that make me feel like I’ve slipped into the Nirvana of a silent forest, isolated from all the problems of the world around me. KEEP ON READING

Feeling hot, hot, hot

in Reviews by

When I moved back to Wales from Switzerland, where summers are HOT and winters COLD, I found I couldn’t wear some of my favourite fragrances because they need the extremes of weather to work. This was a surprise, to put it mildly. I had assumed that fragrances just work, regardless of climate.

Here in Britain this summer has been a comparative heatwave, with temperatures reaching a scorching 30C at times and surprisingly regular sunny days. I know this is lukewarm for many readers, who are used to coping with 40+ regularly, but in Dear Old Blighty it’s worth commenting on. Especially for me, as I have been able to get out those much-missed hot weather fragrances and have been wearing them delightedly, trying to figure out why they are now enjoyable again. KEEP ON READING

Oud Palao by Diptyque: Oriental and French chic

in Reviews by

Oud Palao is everything that I wanted from a predominately Oud/Rose fragrance and so much more. Oud Palao takes one of the more dynamic approaches in the realm of Westernized-Middle-Eastern splendor. What we have here, is just not skanky woods, doused with rose, but loads of; tobacco, honey, rum, vanilla, oud, and lastly, a lush, damp rose to top it off. That’s not all, patchouli and camphor play a harmonious few moments in this symphony of notes, I get smokiness undertones, as if, the woods in Oud Palao are smoldering, the second I smelled a chocolate-laced greenness, I thought of patchouli. O.P. is quite busy in the first 10-20 minutes, all of the notes peek their head out, not too long after applying, but quickly settles into a tobacco, rose, oud, patchouli concoction, with vanilla adding just enough sweetness. KEEP ON READING

Acqua di Parma’s Fico di Amalfi: Figs on an Ocean Breeze

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Like the rest of the Blu Mediteranneo line, Acqua di Parma’s Fico di Amalfi is an atmospheric fragrance. Quite different than the dry, woody fig of Diptyque’s Philosykos, or the tropical blend of D.S. & Durga’s Debaser, Fico di Amalfi is a wet, juicy fig combined with oceanic and airy notes.

Opening with citruses, namely mandarin and grapefruit, the fragrance maintains Acqua di Parma’s citrus-heavy DNA. Immediately after the spray, within only a few seconds, the citruses recede to the background and one is hit with the smell of a juicy (and I mean juicy!) fig accord. The watery fig note is unmistakable, though it is unique in that it doesn’t share many similarities with the dry figs used in Philosykos or Debaser. Behind the nectarous fig one can detect the citruses, a small hint of crunch green leaves (perhaps from the fig tree), and a powerful oceanic note that is enhanced in complexity by the addition of a soapy benzoin (much like one might find in Prada’s Amber Pour Homme). Fico di Amalfi is certainly a fresh fragrance, and it is exceptionally unique for a fig scent, however it takes inspiration from a number of bestsellers, including the aforementioned fig fragrances, and combines them with soapy elements from successful masculines and a “fresh marine breeze” note that reminds me of the airy lift that one might find in Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino. KEEP ON READING

Iris Quest: The Beginning

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Chandler Burr writes that iris is “liquid good taste” and that description has stuck in my mind when thinking about, and wearing iris fragrances. I am not a natural lover of the note, but lately I’ve been charmed by the silvery elegance it brings to any fragrance, as well as by its ability to manifest itself in a myriad of ways ranging from violet, leather, vegetable roots, cosmetic powder, wet earth, metal, rising damp, and even (disturbingly) dirty, unwashed hair. Depending on what notes iris is matched to and what materials have been used to recreate the smell of either the iris root or petals, iris can mean a hundred different things. KEEP ON READING

Roses Volume III

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Today I’ll be looking at some Arabic-inspired rose fragrances at various price points – Velvet Rose & Oud by Jo Malone, Ta’if by Ormonde Jayne, Oud Silk Mood by Maison Francis Kurkdijan, and Wissal by Ajmal.

Velvet Rose & Oud by Jo Malone

Flowers & Trees
Nature Hd Beauty Flowers Rose Red Scarlet Petals Px images: ~ hd beauty images, hd beauty balm, hd beauty supply coupon

Velvet Rose & Oud is utterly brilliant. I always feel that the traditional pairing of rose with oud never goes quite far enough to modulate the underlying sourness of oud, especially if the traditional Bulgarian rose is used, because there is always that faintly tart, green-lemon edge to Bulgarian roses that inches it too close to the sourness of the oud. KEEP ON READING

Roses Volume II

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Today, we’re looking at a few of the fresher, lighter rose scents out there – L’Ombre Dans L’Eau and Eau Rose by Diptyque, Rose en Noir by Miller Harris, and Elisabethan Rose by Penhaligon’s.

L’Ombre Dans L’Eau by Diptyque

In January, 2013, alone in a small niche perfumery in Rome and armed with birthday money, which is free money, I made my first niche perfume purchases, among them Diptyque’s L’Ombre Dans L’Eau. I ended up selling all but one of those bottles (I kept Borneo 1834), and the first on the chopping block was L’Ombre Dans L’Eau. I always have a moment of hesitation before selling on a perfume, but not this time. KEEP ON READING

Rania J. Oud Assam – Excellent Starter Indian Oud

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Oud Assam smells (to me) like real Indian oud oil tinctured in perfumer’s alcohol, bracketed by a simple bitter orange note on top and a fresh, mossy note on the bottom. This pared-back approach allows all the complexities of the Indian oud used to come out and show themselves – the leather, the woods, the funk, the cheese, the rot, and the sour tang of moldy earth. It’s pretty close to being an oudiflore.

The extent to which you’ll find the oud in Oud Assam dirty depends on your level of experience with real oud. If you’re used to the Montale type of oud (plasticky, band-aid-y, rubbery, or even paint-thinner-ish), then Rania J.’s version might have you running for the hills screaming “Cow dung! Blue cheese!” If you’re coming at this from the perspective of Oud Palao, Leather Oud, and Oud Ispahan, which are all based on the aroma of smoking oud wood chips (rather than the oil), then this will also be quite a departure. But if you’ve smelled real oud oil, and especially Indian (Hindi) oud, then you’ll sniff Oud Assam and say to yourself, “Damn, but they sure put the real stuff in here.” 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

Oud Palao and Diptyque’s magnificent game of ‘Firsts’

in Reviews by

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Diptyque’s surprising but welcomed foray into the crowded Oudh arena could not have come at a better time in 2015 with just 2 months left until it’s 2016. In 2015, we have seen a spawn of Oudh’s come and go quietly into the night as if they were never there while others still linger in obscurity leaving not so much a better fate than the former. But the Oudh’s who are maintaining their presence have managed to survive by sticking to the tried and trusted formulas and no deviating from acknowledged norms, like: Oudh, Rose, Leather, Incense, Vetiver, some Cardamom- a dash of Vanilla-you know, stuff like that. Not so with Oud Palao. KEEP ON READING

Diptyque Volutes: Fragrance on Cruise Control

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When I went to Italy to work as a teaching assistant on my gap year, I discovered just how far I could stretch a Lira. The only white wine of drinkable quality I could find within my measly budget was Orvieto Classico, which was roughly the equivalent of €2 back then. Thin, slightly metallic, but oddly quaffable, I found I could live with it.

Now, even though I am no longer a poor student, I wouldn’t be without it. My brother, who is an insufferable wine snob, loves to pick up a bottle of Orvieto Classico from my fridge, run his finger down it with disdain, and mutter, “Jesus, I can’t believe you’re still drinking this shite.” KEEP ON READING

If You Go Down to the Woods Today: A Round-Up of Good Woods

in Reviews by
It\'s 4:20 at the Teddy Bear Picnic Kristine Kristan / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Omer Pekji is one hell of a talented perfumer. I have been working my way through his pack of samples since March, and even though there are only five of them, they are the kind of perfumes you have to take your time with. Not because they are inaccessible – far from it – but because each of the perfumes is such a clear statement on each of the categories he has taken on (woods, incense, aquatic, leather, and oriental) that it forces you to think about everything the perfumer must have included and excluded on his way to finish the perfume. KEEP ON READING

34 Boulevard St. Germain by Diptyque: Easy Parisian Chic

in Reviews by
Off the Boulevard Shawn Clover / Foter / CC BY-NC

34 Boulevard St. Germain by Diptyque is one of the reasons I am glad I don’t have access to many new perfumes where I live. It was greeted with such dismissal in the blogosphere – a collective sneer or a collective yawn depending on which blog you read – that it might well have colored my judgment had I been able to test it there and then. Instead, as always, I came to this perfume several years after it was released and with absolutely no expectations one way or another.

I first smelled it in a department store in Dublin in August 2013, heavily pregnant and making a mad dash around the shops to collect “essentials” before my two-year-old son awoke from his nap. We had left him in the car with his grandmother, whom I absolutely insist volunteered for the job (no matter what she says). It was my first real crack at a well-stocked perfume department in years, because, as I think I’ve mentioned, I live in Montenegro, which is about ten thousand kilometers away from the nearest niche perfumery. KEEP ON READING

Rendezvous with Sentifique

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Last Saturday I had the great privilege of meeting Friedemann Ramacher the owner and creative director of the Swiss brand Sentifique in Basel at Hyazinth perfumery. He was there for a few hours as a guest to present his exclusive line, so I took the chance of finding right from the source the stories behind these creations. To my pleasure the meeting turned out as an in-depth presentation of each fragrance including sniffing some vials with precious raw materials which Andreas Wilhelm, his collaborator perfumer has used to create all the compositions. An interesting and important detail about Sentifique is that the process of creation starts long before mixing the ingredients. Mr. Ramacher is a very creative person (he has a long time experience in architecture and furniture design) therefore everything starts, as in movies, from a script. First he envisions the scent, the situation, he chooses a character and a mood. Then it begins the actual process of developing the scent when the talented perfumer Andreas Wilhelm turns by magic everything into reality. The result is a collection of five unique, expressive and alluring scents each telling a different story, every composition being a small universe of its own. KEEP ON READING

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