Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Diptyque L'eau de Neroli and L'eau de L'eau

Diptyque is a line I enjoy and appreciate, although it must be said that a lot of their compositions these days seem rather simple and short-lived. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. I think a lot of Diptyque's fragrances are perfect for spring and summer, and seeing that today is the last day of August, and autumn is just round the corner, I thought I would end the month with a couple of quick reviews of two good, yet relatively simple citrus scents.

L'eau de Neroli does pretty much what it says on the tin. This is a brisk, greenish Neroli from the outset. It is quite dry and fragrant, drying down to citrus-and-light-woods, perfect as a pick me up for  a warm spring or hot summer day. It is simple and fairly fleeting, typical of a cologne type of perfume and nice while it lasts. It has what I call that 'typical Diptyque' feel - fresh, zippy, fairly transparent, simple and understated. The top notes are the best phase for me, with that gorgeous and realistic neroli note. The dry down is ok, but nothing to write home about, but then again, I don't usually wear citrus fragrances for their complex development.

L'eau de L'eau is a bit more complex and quirkier than L'eau de Neroli. To my nose it starts sweeter, with far more lemon in it. If I'm being honest, as much as I quite like the opening, it does have a bit of a Lemon Pledge smell to it, which might put some people off. It also has a richer and slightly more polished feel to it. it's not exactly strong, but it has more presence than L'eau de Neroli. I'm thinking there might be some verbena in here too. There's not much more to say about L'eau de L'eau really. It lasts a bit longer, has perhaps a slight herbalness to it and as I said earlier, is a tad quirky in that it doesn't quite smell like anything else I know of.

I'm not sure which of these I prefer or would recommend. I love the opening of L'eau de Neroli, but then it fades away to nothing quite fast. L'eau de L'eau has less of an enticing opening, but does develop in a slightly more interesting fashion. I think both are worth sampling, but unless you are obsessive about citrus perfumes, I can't personally see why anyone would invest in a full bottle of either, particularly if you already have one or two citrus fragrances in your wardrobe.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Sampling fever continues

As I mentioned not long ago, after a hiatus of over three months, I have taken the plunge again and purchased a number of samples, this time from Luckyscent. It is expensive, and I know there are more important things I could spend my money on, but then again, perfume is my hobby. So why shouldn't I indulge every now and then? I don't know about you, but in a way, the actual process of ordering samples can sometimes be more exciting that the sampling itself. There is something about that process of browsing a site like Luckyscent for example that is addictive, looking at the various lines, making a shortlist of what you think you want, reading a few reviews, tweaking the list, then with an intake of breath, clicking that order button, for better or for worse. Then there's the anticipation and waiting. Checking the post each day, searching for that padded tell-tale parcel. I could go on, but I think you get my drift. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels like this, am I (said in a plaintive, slightly desperate voice)? 

Anyway, below is a list of my most recent order and once it arrives, I look forward to writing some more reviews as I try them:

Amouage Opus II
Nasomatto China White
Costamor Tabacca
Eau d'Italia Paestum Rose
Eau d'Italia Sienne l'Hiver
Mazzolari Mazzolari
Parfums MDCI Enlivement au Serail
Atelier Orange Sanguine
Atelier Bois Blonds
The Different Company Bois d'Iris
Odin Nomad
Heeley Sel Marin
Domenico Caraceni 1913
Mark Buxton Black Angel

Here's wishing you all a great final day of August 2010.

Divine L'Homme de Coeur

Iris is very often thought of as quite a feminine note in perfume, although I personally love its use and generally don't struggle to pull off most iris-based perfumes. I have sampled quite a few iris perfumes over the last few months, including ones by Le Labo, Van Cleef & Arpels and Chanel. I've never tried Iris Silver Mist but would love to get my mitts on it at some point. Thinking of masculine iris perfumes, the two that spring to mind are Dior Homme and Divine's L'Homme de Coeur. I won't go into much detail on Dior Homme, suffice to say that I love it, but it is not as forwardly masculine as Divine's - there are notes of cocoa and makeup and perhaps lipstick, which seem to divide opinion. Just visit Basenotes to find out how polarising Dior Homme can be. However, I digress. This is a review of L"Homme de Coeur. The notes listed include angelica, juniper berries, cyprus, iris, vetiver, ambergris and wild vanilla. The opening is quite sweet, possibly from the angelica, and quite aromatic. Not surprising considering the juniper and cyprus notes. I thought I detected some citrus, which is not listed. Iris does pop up after a while and the effect of dry, almost dusty iris with fragrant fir notes is a surprisingly good combination, and slightly unusual. I'm not sure if any of you have tried any perfumes by Divine, but all the ones I've tried have quite an aromatic, almost spicy earthiness. The heart is where iris is most prevalent. This is not a powdery iris note, nor floral, nor rooty. It is hard to really say what it is, but probably woody and miles apart in feel from Dior Homme. I would say that if you can get a proper masculine iris note, this would be the one. However, overall I would not say that L'Homme de Coeur is an iris-dominant fragrance; there is a lot else happening here. The vanilla and ambergris combine wonderfully with the iris and vetiver to create a spicy, earthy, yet ever so sweet accord that frankly, is rather compelling. It's not a combination I've encountered before, but it works very well. The longer the fragrance wears, the less obvious the iris is, I think. It's there if you sniff closely enough, but it doesn't progress in the way iris perfumes often do - slightly aloof, cold, sophisticated and ethereal almost. L'Homme de Coeur is sweetish, warm, woody herbal and spicy. For you ladies out there, I would say that this is quite a masculine perfume, but if you can get past that, you might find an iris perfume unlike any other you have smelled before and I would certainly recommend at least trying this. Incidentally, Divine has (or used to when I ordered about 18 months ago) a great sample programme, where you can order samples of the entire line from their website, for very little actually. 

Image credit - www.fragrantica.com

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier - Grain de Plaisir

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier (MPG) is one of those truly niche lines that seems seldom to attract much attention or reviews. It has its fans, to be sure, but generally it seems to stay beneath the radar somewhat. Grain de Plaisir is one of those perfumes in the line which seems even more obscure and there are very few reviews of it. It's a very masculine perfume, and I'm aware that recently I've been reviewing quite a few masculine perfumes, so I apologise for that; it's not intentional, just that this is how I've been wearing stuff recently. And who knows, perhaps there are some ladies out there who might appreciate some of these. Grain de Plaisir (I have no idea what the name means) opens with a healthy dose of citrus, what I perceive as neroli and petitgrain. There is also quite a lemon-y-ness to it, possibly verbena, and a bit of lavender as well. It has a cologne-like feel, what with the lavender and citrus, but then I detect a strong celery seed/leaf smell, which immediately lends more of a foody smell to it. However, this is not a gourmand by any means, but quite herbal and piquant. If you like celery in cooking, and enjoy its fragrance, then I think you might well like Grain de Plaisir; if not, then you might be struggling. I personally love the smell and taste of celery in every form and for some reason it is almost therapeutic to me, whets my appetite and just makes me feel good. It is no exception with this fragrance - I'm left wanting to sniff my wrist repeatedly to capture that green, herby, aromatic, almost meditative quality that celery brings. As the fragrance progresses, I detect an almost incense-like quality to it, without being really incense-y at all, if that makes any sense. There is also a strong presence of vetiver and amber, and possibly even juniper. The underlying woodiness is patchouli enhanced. I think Grain de Plaisir is actually a very good fragrance, and criminally overlooked. It won't please everyone, that's for sure, and it is quite masculine, but I could certainly recommend it to those of you who are perhaps looked for a citrus-herbal-green scent that can be worn in summer, with some substance, but could also be worn perhaps in the transitional seasons as well.

Perfume notes include celery seed, mastic, myrtle, lavender and exotic woods.

Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle Geranium pour Monsieur

I should start this review by saying that generally I am not a fan of either geranium or mint in perfume. Which begs the question why I would sample a perfume based predominantly on these two notes. I don't mind the smell of mint in itself - in the garden for example, or in a cup of tea, or even as an after-dinner sweet. I'm less of a fan of mint in shower gels or toothpaste, although I don't think I would use a toothpaste that doesn't have a peppermint feel and flavour, I think. And that's where the problem lies, because in every perfume I have tried that uses mint, I have immediately made that association with toothpaste and dental hygiene, both good things, but not a smell I wish to smell on myself or project to others, as if I am a dentist. I am even less of a fan of geranium. There's something about the intense herbal and almost weedy smell of geranium that just doesn't appeal to me. I know there are a lot of people who enjoy the smell of geranium, and there are many gardeners who collect scented geraniums for just this purpose. Ok, now that I've got that out the way, how do I approach Geranium pour Monsieur, developed by a great nose, Dominic Ropion? The fragrance opens with quite an intense, minty sweetness, with mentholated geranium. The geranium is strong and to the fore, but so is the mint. As the sweetness fades, there is a smell of something quite herbal, with a piquancy almost like basil leaf. I think my slightly jaundiced association with dental hygiene begins to rear its head because I then detect a note that is almost rubbery, like latex, just beneath the surface! I must be almost certainly wrong. This opening and early heart phase are quite disconcerting for me and at this stage I don't like Geranium pour Monsieur at all, to the extent that it is verging on being a scrubber. 

Thankfully it is at this point that the fragrance turns quite dry, with a gradual intensifying of musk, a laundry musk to be precise. Although mint and geranium are by no means usurped, they don't dominate as much, and in fact, the mint probably fades away altogether, leaving a coolish and dry geranium, musk and gentle woods accord. I think once I reach this phase, I actually start to enjoy the fragrance, although I can't say it ever gets to the point where I feel I could go and out and purchase a full bottle. In keeping with the style of Frederic Malle, this is quite a cerebral take on geranium and mint, very innovative, and I'm sure people who like these two notes more than I do would appreciate this very much. Having said that, the Frederic Malle line can be a bit polarising, so this could divide opinion. I think I prefer this to another mint fragrance, Cartier Roadster, released at a similar time, but I'm still not convinced that I like geranium or mint in perfume much more than I did before. Although this is quite a masculine fragrance, I don't think a woman couldn't wear or appreciate this, although I suspect it would have more male fans overall. 

Perfume notes: mint, peppermint, geranium, clove, white musk, ambroxan, sandalwood, incense and benzoin.

Image credit - http://scentedgeraniumsofne.com

Saturday, 28 August 2010

By Kilian Cruel Intentions

Regular readers of my blog might have gathered by now that I quite enjoy oud-based perfumes. Of course, with my limited experience, I haven't been fortunate enough to try the real thing yet (I think) and so my interpretation of oud is based very much on a Western oud-accord, which, some say, is nothing like the real thing. This in turn is a real simplification, as oud has many different facets and comes from different countries, each of which can differ remarkably, I've read. Anyway, having sampled Pure Oud, I thought I'd try an oud in the By Kilian line, Cruel Intentions. The listed notes include bergamot, orange blossom, violet accord, rose absolute, agarwood (oud) papyrus oil, gaiacwood, vetiver, sandalwood, styrax, castoreum, vanilla and musk. This is a serious list of notes, with some real powerhouse ingredients in there. Which begs the question why on my skin Cruel Intentions seems so tame, murky and indistinct. In fact, in a nutshell, Cruel Intentions smells like M7, by YSL. Don't get me wrong - I actually like M7 a lot. But why would I splash out an insane amount of cash for the Kilian when I can get M7 for probably a third or quarter of the price. Well, not for much longer - I think M7 is on the way out because it doesn't seem to be stocked much in the UK now. Cruel Intentions opens bright and citrusy, without any oud in sight. When I was writing notes for this, I wrote that I could detect cardamom, coriander and lavender, none of which is listed in the notes, so I must have been totally wrong. As the top fades I can detect a slightly muddy or murky oud note emerge that to my nose smells remarkably like M7. In fact, at this point I don't think I would be able to tell one from the other were I to wear them on each wrist. As the fragrance develops, it does become slightly more refined than M7 perhaps, quite woody, a bit smoky, but if I'm being honest, the host of notes listed above fail to make much impact to my nose. I'm obviously no expert, but styrax, castoreum, vetiver and musk were lost on my skin. It does become quite sweet later on, which I would think is the influence of the vanilla, gaiacwood and sandalwood, but this perfume is neither skanky nor particularly edgy to me, despite the name.

I'm sorry if this review seems slightly negative, but Cruel Intentions was a big let down for me, particularly as I enjoyed Back to Black and Pure Oud very much. I'm not sure I would recommend this. I would rather recommend you try M7, a groundbreaking mainstream perfume, very much ahead of its time in my opinion, and now, unfortunately, seemingly on the verge of being discontinued.

Image credit - Luckscent.com

Friday, 27 August 2010

Narciso Rodriguez Musc

I think I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago that I found Narciso Rodriguez for him quite a distinctive and interesting perfume. At least it is for me. It is a musky fougere, with violet leaves. I like it, although it is not something I could wear every day. I also like 'for her', which in a way reminds me a little bit of SJP Lovely (or is that the other way round)? Anyway, this is not a review of the perfumes per se, but I was in a department store today, just browsing and generally making a pain in the arse of myself as usual, when I noticed just how many versions of this perfume there are, both for men and women. And they all look, sound and smell fairly similar to each other. For instance, the men's version comes in an EDT and EDP, but I think they have slightly different names and bottle colours. Then you get the musk oil, which is actually subtle, but very nice. Then the ladies seem to get a similar range. Today I noticed that there is an EDP intense out for both men and women, and then lo and behold, even the Essence range has an intense version on the shelves. To my knowledge, none of these releases has been met with much advertising or fanfare, but then again, I might just be oblivious to all this. The point I am trying to make (actually, am I trying to make a point? I'm not even sure) is I'm not quite sure why there are so many different strengths and versions, and I'm not even sure if they are all flankers or meant to be slightly different. One thing I do know is that they are all variations on a musk theme, not a skanky musk, but neither totally laundry clean. As I said, I like the range, but I can't see why there has to be so many riffs on the same theme - couldn't they try something different?

Anyway, apologies for a somewhat pointless post, but I'd be interested if any of you can shed some light on the 'muskery' that is Narciso Rodriguez!

Image credit - www.trungtamnuochoa.com

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Mona di Orio Les Nombres d'Or Cuir

I recently ordered a sample of Cuir, one of three in the new series  by Mona di Orio, which also includes Ambre and Musc. I was quite excited to try this, as I am usually a fan of leather fragrances. I'm not sure what I was expecting - perhaps something a bit like Cuir Ottoman or Cuir de Russie. Instead, di Orio's Cuir is an unabashed leather monster, at least on my skin. The Non Blonde recently reviewed this very favourably, emphasising that although this wasn't biker leather, it was certainly quite animalic. I agree on the animalic assessment. However, on my skin this is unapologetically leathery, with more than a touch of birch tar. Cuir wears dry and smoky, without ever a hint of any sweetness or variation on my skin. At one point it is so intensely leathery that it starts to smell a bit like plastic, almost burnt in a way. This phase is the most unpleasant for me, when it smells a bit synthetic. This eventually moderates somewhat, but that smoky fierceness never goes away. Cuir has got to be possibly one of the most linear leather fragrances I have worn. It doesn't vary much after the top notes fade, which in a way is nice, in that if you like leather, you are going to get a lot of it, for a long time. On the other hand I was hoping for something else to creep in, perhaps some vanilla, or patchouli, or incense; I don't know. When I was younger, I had the misfortune to have to go to a tannery for my work (the joys of being an auditor, I tell you). We were counting inventory of hides and skins, many of which were still in quite a raw state and lots of others at various stages of the curing and tanning process. The smell was very leathery, but with a metallic bloody smell. To a small extent, Cuir reminds me of this smell, and thinking about it, that slightly plastic, blood smell I get is not that far removed from Vierges & Toreros, by ELDO. 

Now I know that this review might seem to be painting Cuir in a slightly negative light, but actually, that's not what I'm trying to do. What I am saying is that Cuir, on my skin at least, is quite uncompromising and severe, and extremely leathery. Depending on your point of view, and your tolerance on the leather-skankmeter, this will either appeal to you or repulse, I think. I have a feeling that this is very much a skin chemistry thing. What I do know is that I don't find Cuir feminine at all, yet at the same time it is not really butch and masculine either. Nor do I find this sexy or kinky - in fact, I can't make up my mind about this and will need to test Cuir some more. What I do like about Mona di Orio is that she is isn't afraid to release some big, bold and frankly, sometimes some scary, skanky perfumes. I think if you do like leather, definitely give this one a go.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Marc Jacobs Bang and Davidoff Champion

I was in Boots the Chemist today (a national pharmacy chain for those not familiar with the UK) and noticed two new fragrances for men on display. I have felt a little disillusioned with mainstream mens fragrance for some time, which is hardly a revelation, but there you have it. I tested both of these on paper only, not expecting much. Well, Davidoff Champion started off surprisingly good - peppery, slightly smoky woods, perhaps what smelled initially like a bit of incense. I left the strip in my pocket for a couple of hours and then smelled it again. Disappointment. What happened? All that remained was the ubiquitous smell of 'department store fragrance' which to my nose smells like metallic citrus, artificial slightly smoky cedar, and musk. To be honest, I've smelled worse, and this is actually not that bad. It is similar on paper to YSL L'Homme, I think, and perhaps I'm being a bit unfair, but after that promising opening I was expecting a bit more. 

Marc Jacobs Bang (pictured top left) is housed in quite a striking bottle (some might say tacky, speaking of which, look at the ad pics for this, with Marc Jacobs reclining naked, which is reminiscent of the original YSL M7 ad). The opening was actually quite similar to Champion, peppery and almost incense-y. Likewise, I left it in my pocket for a couple of hours and then sniffed later on. I'm glad to report that Bang has a great development. I hesitate to say this, but I may have found a mens fragrance that doesn't smell like everything else out there at present. The dry down is slightly leathery, with a touch of vetiver and still that hint of incense. The perfumer is Yann Vasnier, who incidentally, is the nose behind Byredo's Baudelaire. Funnily enough, I'm actually testing Baudelaire for the first time today and there is a slight similarity between the two, which may not be that surprising. I'm now eager to test Bang on skin and see if it still stands up to scrutiny. Perhaps it is a sad indictment of the state of mens' perfumery, but I'm really excited that this smells sort of unique, at least by mainstream standards. Now if only Chanel had released something a little bit original...

Image credit - www.apetogentleman.com

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Andy Tauer Orange Star

I'm one of the latecomers to Andy Tauer's Orange Star. I'm not quite sure why. I think I was expecting to feel a bit let down, which is slightly strange, because I actually like a lot of Andy's perfumes. Two of his, Vetiver Dance and Reverie au Jardin, are rank in my opinion, at least on my skin. I've seldom had such a negative reaction to a perfume. But the others, on the other hand, in particular Incense Extreme and L'air Desert Marocain, have been fantastic. So I don't know, maybe it was the two scrubbers that made me feel a little apprehensive. In the end, I needn't have worried, Orange Star is lovely indeed. If you try Orange Star thinking it is going to be a summer citrus scent, then I think you might be surprised. I know skin chemistry plays a part of course, and on my skin the orange is secondary, yet still essential, to the star player, being to my nose an incense accord created by what I think is the combination of cistus labdanum and ambergris. 

The notes from Luckyscent include clementine, mandarin, lemongrass, orange flower, violet flower, ambergris, patchouli, vanilla and ambreine. From what I can gather, ambreine is a derivative from ambergris. Despite not being listed here, I definitely get a cistus note, an ingredient that is often used in Tauer's perfumes. The opening of Orange Star is sweet and fragrant. Although there are lots of citrus orange notes listed, I don't find the opening that orangey, at least not in the conventional sense. To me it is more a pulpy, fruity orange, suffused with what I perceive initially as a muted incense note. After a few minutes the orange notes become a bit dryer and smoky, as the ambergris makes its presence felt. Some people have commented on a powdery note in Orange Star and I'm wondering if this might be the violet flower. I don't personally detect it, but the orange blossom does lend the fragrance more of a blowsy feel in the heart. Orange Star sweetens again, this time in a more woody fashion, and I initially thought there is sandalwood in here, but perhaps its the combination of patchouli and vanilla. Whatever it is, this slightly creamy note combines beautifully with the ambergris and orange to produce what I think is Tauer's most suave and sophisticated fragrance yet. As much as I've enjoyed his work, I've always found his fragrances to bludgeon me with their sheer presence and strong notes; almost heavy-handed in a way. Yet Orange Star, despite still being recognisably a Tauer work, tones down the heavy notes without eschewing them altogether, reigning them in to produce a work that is complex, subtle, yet still very precise in execution. To my mind this is Tauer's tour de force to date.

The base continues very much on the same theme. What I like about Orange Star is that the orange accord avoids any cliches, yet still manages to improvise on a theme throughout the development, yet never overwhelms. The smoky cistus and ambergris notes prevent the orange from becoming sweet, and lend the fragrance a resinous, incense feel, reminiscent of some of his prior work, but sufficiently different to stand out as a unique change in direction and feel. I always hesitate to praise a fragrance too highly, but I honestly think this is a great piece of work by Tauer and it comes highly recommended.

Image credit - http://3.bp.blogspot.com

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Weekend musings

Just a quick post today. It's been a bit of a crummy weekend in England, weather-wise. It's been humid, dank and overcast and now turned rainy, so not the late summer I was hoping for. Perfume-wise, I've been spending a bit of time with Tom Ford Extreme. You may recall that I won samples of the mainstream TF fragrances a few months ago. I haven't really tried any of these for some time but for some reason felt like doing so this weekend. Extreme is actually a very good masculine fragrance. Compared to the original Tom Ford for Men, it is head and shoulders above. I particularly like its opening and then its dry down. The heart is so-so, being the most generic phase, in my opinion. There's something quite dressy about TF's perfumes, I believe. Extreme for some reason makes me want to don a dress suit and attend a gala event! It has that slightly formal, slightly powerhouse feel, without actually being too assertive. I know that doesn't really say much about the fragrance itself, but I like it.

I also have samples of the Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire. I know these have received quite a lot of love by some bloggers, but they haven't done too much for me. I've spent the most time with Bois d'Iris and Cologne Noir. The iris is a decent, if slightly unforgettable fragrance, while Cologne Noir, created by Mark Buxton, frustrates the hell out of me. I don't know if I am anosmic to the ingredients, but it is such a slight, hard-to-detect cologne. I know colognes aren't meant to be too strong or long-lasting, but this one takes this concept to a new level. And it actually does smell nice, if you can detect it. I keep on getting tantalising little wafts of pepper and woods, but I wish Buxton had just amped it up a bit. Transparent and sheer don't have to equate to fleeting and undetectable - just take JC Elena's work for example. I hope this isn't indicative of Buxton's body of work (I don't think it is) because I am in the process of ordering some  samples from Buxton's eponymous line.

Image credit - cache.kotaku.com

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Profumum Roma Olibanum

A few months ago I went on a bit of an incense rampage and really sampled quite a few incense-focused perfumes, including Olibanum, by Profumum. I think I'm naturally drawn to incense, having always loved its smell, even as a small boy, when I most associated it with church ceremonies. I love the contemplative nature of incense, and the sense of history one gets when considering it's varied uses over the centuries and its versatility and incarnations. Profumum is not a line I am familiar with. In fact Olibanum is the only one I've tried and often when reading reviews of their fragrances I am surprised at the often negative reviews of many in the line. Anyway, the listed notes include incense, myrrh, orange blossom and sandalwood. The opening of Olibanum is unusual (at least to me) in that it doesn't seem to pair the usual tart citrus notes with incense. In fact, until I had read what the notes were, I couldn't quite make out what was paired with the incense. There is a sweetness to the opening which I couldn't pin down, but now of course I realise that it is orange blossom. I must admit that I didn't find the opening particularly enticing. It was rather nondescript to me, but thankfully, the heart onwards became rather more alluring. As the sandalwood creeps in, the fragrance becomes woodier and creamy, which combined with the slightly smoky (but by no means churchy or gothic) incense is a nice, if fairly well-charted route. Think 10 Corso Como for example, which to my nose is the most comparable. Nothing wrong with that. If anything, I would say that Olibanum is perhaps a bit more intense that 10 Corso Como, with more of an incense presence. The second half of the development works really well on my skin and I must say that I ended up liking Olibanum rather a lot. I wouldn't say it is particularly daring or innovative, but it smells darn nice and that is surely what counts? I don't detect a huge myrrh presence, but I must admit that myrrh is not a note that I'm very familiar with and I'm sure it is in here, somehow complementing the incense and sandalwood, but not in a manner that I can readily identify and comprehend.

Olibanum is, I think, perfectly unisex, particularly with the creamy sandalwood note and I think any fan of incense perfumes would most probably enjoy it very much. If you already like 10 Corso Como but perhaps find it a bit too restrained, then I would recommend giving Olibanum a go, as it seemed very much like a more intense version of a similar theme.

Image credit: Luckyscent.com

Thursday, 19 August 2010

It's sample time again!

This is a bit of a nonsense post I suppose, but I am quite excited as I have ordered my first batch of samples in about three months. As I'm sure most of you know, or have experienced, obtaining new perfumes can become a bit of an obsession; some would even say an addiction, whether it be full bottles, decants or samples. I can't really afford full bottles or large decants, so samples it is for me, and has been, for at least two years now. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but my usual sources of purchased samples (I'm not above literally begging sales staff for samples by the way, and am sure I am viewed as a bit of a sicko, or pest, at my local department stores) are Luckyscent in the US, First in Fragrance in Germany, and Les Senteurs in the UK. I have also purchased from The Perfumed Court, but I do find them quite expensive, but admittedly they have an incredible stock. As the pound is currently weak against the Euro, I've also found First in Fragrance quite pricy and can often get the same stuff from Luckyscent for two thirds the price, although admittedly their sample vials tend to be smaller. My experience with The Perfumed Court was good, but a little strange, at least for me. I wasn't used to receiving little packets of perfumes from the various sellers, at different times. In a way it was quite nice because I had three lots of anticipation and deliveries.

I ordered some samples from Les Senteurs yesterday, who are based in London. Again, I've mentioned it before, but for those of you from the US, if you're ever in London, do make the effort to pop into this place in Belgravia, which is but a stone's throw away from Victoria Station. They carry a lovely range of perfumes, including Frederic Malle, Caron, Parfumerie Generale, Serge Lutens, Lorenzo Villoresi, ELDO, Parfums D'Empire, Creed, Mona Di Orio, Parfums Delrae, Byredo and Robert Piguet. Here's a link to their website. What I love about Les Senteurs is that although you pay for samples if you order online, if you visit in person they will happily decant any reasonable number of samples for you, for free.

This is a list of what I ordered: 

Parfumerie Generale - Querelle
Caron - Yatagan
Mona di Orio - Les Nombres D'or Cuir
Andy Tauer - Orange Star
Frederic Malle - Iris Poudre
Byredo Baudelaire

Yatagan was one of the first niche perfumes I ever sampled, more than three years ago, but I can hardly remember what it smelled like, so am keen to try again now that I have more experience. I haven't tried the others before, but have read fairly good things about them.

I would be interested in finding out if any of you have sampled some or all of these.

Incidentally, my scents of the day today were Chanel 28 La Pausa and Czech & Speake's No 88. I have reviewed La Pausa before. I quite like it - very refined and sophisticated. Very Chanel I suppose.  No 88 just doesn't speak to me. I've had samples of this for a year or two now and have worn it at least a dozen times, but nope, it just isn't me. I know it has some ardent fans but I can't get past that slightly sweet, geranium and rose combination, which for some reason reminds me of the smell of a chewing gum we had growing up as kids, called Pepsin. It was almost a wintergreen smell and in itself is quite nice, but for some reason I just don't like it much in a perfume. In fact, I don't like the smell of geraniums very much. Is that strange?

Image credit: www.theperfumeryuk.com

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Montale Black Oud vs Czech & Speake Dark Rose

I have had samples of both Black Oud and Dark Rose for some time now and have worn these two regularly over the last eighteen months. To my mind, I thought they were quite similar, so thought I would wear them side by side, one on each wrist. Readers of my blog might know that I am generally quite a fan of both oud and rose perfumes, and the combination of the two can be stunning and is a tried-and-tested duo. I went through a bit of a rose fetish a while back and more recently on an oud bender.  Black Oud is one Montale that always seems to encourage debate - just visit the Basenotes reviews for example, and you will see what I mean. Dark Rose is less well known perhaps, but perhaps the Czech and Speake line as a whole is becoming better known, as recently (i.e the last eighteen months) they have stepped up their marketing, at least in the UK. 

Black Oud opens with a strong medicinal blast, a common theme in the Montale Oud series. Any western nose familiar with more Western-based oud perfumes will recognise this accord. It's quite an oily perfume on skin, suggestive of its concentration and strength. The powerful opening is quite astringent and pungent and I can see some people being put off by this. The rose emerges quite quickly and it isn't a fresh, green, dewy rose; rather it is quite sweet and earthy. At the same time there is a sourness as well, which might be citrus, but I'm not sure. The heart is rose and oud; no surprises there. There is some patchouli here too (some say a lot) but I never find it that obvious, although it might lend that earthiness I was referring to. The rose is of high quality I think, but I do find that Black Oud wears very differently on my skin depending on the season. In winter the rose can come across quite sour and thin, but in heat it blooms and becomes gorgeously sweet and rich. I would say that Black Rose is quite linear. Once you get past the medicinal oud opening, the rest is pretty much rose and a bit of woods, but amped up, so that what you get is a bold, intense and long-lasting perfume. In fact, sometimes Black Oud's intensity and linearity bores me, as it goes on and on, without really altering. However, in warm weather it definitely reveals a more interesting facet. I wore Black Oud a few months ago at the height of the South African summer, when I was out there on holiday. The woody subtleties of the fragrance were revealed, and as I said, the rose more well-rounded. In the gloom and cold of a northern winter, Black Oud can be rather severe and constant, at least on my skin.

Dark Rose also opens with a medicinal oud edge, but is much more restrained than Black Oud. There is also a slight soapiness to the opening which surprised me. The rose is very prominent, perhaps more so than Black Oud's, but it is perhaps less sweet and a bit greener. Other than that, the first half wears fairly similar to Black Oud. As the fragrance progresses, I feel that it is thinner and less rich than Black Oud, almost watered down by comparison. I think Dark Rose is still well done, and one might find it more to their liking if Montale's ouds come across as too strong and forceful.

Having worn these side by side, I find that they are not quite as similar as I first thought wearing them separately. My personal preference is for Black Oud, which I find richer, more complex, has a better and more realistic rose note and somehow its sweeter character suits the rose more, in my opinion. That's not to say that Dark Rose is a poor fragrance; it isn't, and if you are someone who likes, or is interested in, rose and oud perfumes, I would certainly recommend trying them both. I would say that both tend to be more masculine in character, but particular with Black Oud, I think the sweet rose brings it back more into unisex territory and I can't see why a woman could not at least try it.

Image credit: florissential.co.uk

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Bleu de Chanel

I'm sure some of you may be aware that Chanel was about to release a new men's fragrance, one which is not in the stable of Allure flankers. This was discussed with much anticipation over on Basenotes for some  months before its release. Initial reviews from bloggers have been disappointing, which disappointed me in turn, as I was really hoping for something good from Chanel after quite a few years since the last original mainstream release. However, I always reserve judgement until I try. Bleu de Chanel came into our stores in Tunbridge Wells this weekend and I tried it for the first time today. This is not going to be a detailed review of the fragrance, but is merely my first impression. To be honest, I'm not blown away by Bleu, but then again, I was never truly expecting to be. Honestly, I am not a perfume snob, but there is very little in current mainstream releases that is exciting me. At the same time, I hasten to add that Bleu is also not as bad as some people have made it out to be. If you are expecting the next Antaeus or Egoiste, then Bleu will probably fall short of the mark. If you are expecting the same old dross to be churned out, then Bleu might at least meet, or even exceed expectations, because despite being not very original, like most Chanel fragrances, they are at least using good quality ingredients and a decent perfumer in Jacque Polge. 

Bleu, despite not being an Allure flanker, does in some respects, as Dimitri over on Sorcery of Scent pointed out, bear quite a few similarities to any of the Allure mens perfumes. However it is not a dead ringer and in the dry down especially, I think it is a bit more original. It is in the dry down that it nods more towards its early predecessors, in particular Pour Monsieur, but only very slightly. I'm in two minds over Bleu. On the one hand it does feel a bit generic and definitely falls squarely in the middle of mainstream and doesn't, in my opinion, add much to the genre. On the other hand, it smells fairly good and unless you are a rabid perfumista, like most of us are, I can see this selling well and making a bundle for the good folk at Chanel. I can definitely see the average man who buys a cologne once or twice a year being sold on Bleu by the sales assistants, no doubt. Perhaps this is damning with faint praise, but there you have it. I for one would love one of the big perfume houses to come out with something new, daring, and original and really push the boat out, but let's be realistic here - mainstream perfume is all about the sales and money these days (and perhaps always was, who knows?) and no one is going to be taking a major gamble when the market is currently so accepting of fairly generic output. 

Another thing is certain - the Allure formula has worked wonders for Chanel and no wonder they've churned out a good few flankers. Allure back in the nineties set the new standard for modern mens perfumery, with its combo of citrus, woods, a bit of spice and musk. Think of almost all the releases since then, with the exception of the marine trend, and you will almost certainly find a formula that includes generic, slightly synthetic citrus, sweet cola-ish musk and that iso e super, slightly buzzy cedar accord. Boom, there you have it, whether it's YSL, Chanel, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, etc, etc. No wonder that these days, when I smell Allure, I immediately think "department store mens fragrance". In a way, it shows just how influential and groundbreaking Allure was at the time.

I'm going slightly off topic now, but on the subject of originality, which I know is subjective, I can think of only a handful of mens mainstream releases over the last 4-5 years that stand out for me - Dior Homme and Terre de Hermes spring to mind, as does Narciso Rodriguez. After that I am struggling. I'm sure there are more, but still...

A last word on Chanel. If I were to rank the mens line, my favourite is probably Antaeus, followed by Egoiste, which incidentally is almost impossible to find in the UK unless you order  it online. A couple of years ago I asked a sales lady why it isn't stocked in the UK anymore and she said she was told that the UK mens market is not comfortable with spicy fragrances that feel more European in nature. That's a telling statement if there ever was one. After Egoiste would come Pour Monsieur, followed by Allure, Platinum Egoiste (which bears absolutely no resemblance to the original Egoiste at all, which itself is quite similar to Bois de Illes) and finally all the Allure flankers. I know Allure Homme Edition Blanche has its followers and I must admit it isn't bad at all.

So, a rambling post, for which I apologise, with very little actual analysis of Bleu de Chanel itself. Perhaps you should try it for yourself and see if it is any good.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Satellite Padparadscha

Padparadscha seems to have a bit of a cult following. I purchased a sample of this some time ago and have worn it a few times with mixed feelings. I bought this thinking it is an incense fragrance, but in reality it is more about spiced woods. The first half is all about pepper and cloves on my skin. You may know from previous posts that neither of these notes is a favourite of mine, at least not as the main player.  The notes listed are pepper, juniper, amber, musk, cedar and sandalwood. Padparadscha opens with a large dose of pepper. I mention cloves because the pepper note is so strong and fragrant that it smells like cloves to me. It is severe, dry and nose-clearing in its initial intensity. At this stage I always seem to have the urge to wash it off. Thankfully the pepper starts to reduce in intensity and as it does so, the fragrance sweetens and becomes almost mossy - perhaps that is the effect of the juniper. At this point Padparadscha wears quite feminine and is quite 'perfumey'. It feels a little like the love child of Piper Nigrum and Noir Epicees. Having said this, Padparadscha stills strikes me overall as quite dry and severe right into the early dry down. The dry down is where it all starts to come together for me. The pepper is now only a buzz in the background and the amber, musk and woods create  a nice balance, which in conjunction with the pepper wears almost like an incense scent. It's fairly subtle and diffused by this stage. It's just a pity, at least for me, that this doesn't happen sooner. Instead I have to wait at least a couple of hours before the pepper swat team retreats and lets the woods, musk and amber have a look-in.

Perhaps this is a slightly negative review. I don't mean it to be. I really want to like Padparadscha and indeed I do during the second half, but I can't help feeling slightly let down by the beginning; it's just not my cup of tea. In spite of this, don't let my ramblings put you off trying this. You might just find it to your liking, particularly if you enjoy black pepper in a perfume. Padparadscha is quite feminine in a way, especially the first half of development, but overall I didn't find it excessively so. I think a man can wear this, particularly with all the spices in play.

Image credit - www.luckyscent.com

Monday, 9 August 2010

Etat Libre D'Orange - Putain de Palaces

I've had mixed success with the ELDO line of fragrances. Of the ones I've tried, they've all struck me as quite synthetic, a little offbeat without really charming me. It's unlikely that I would have ordered a sample of Putain de Palaces. In fact I didn't. I ordered a batch of samples and this one was included in error. The name, depending on one's point of view, could be enough to deter, particularly if Secretions Magnifique was anything to go by. P de P actually turns out to be a gorgeous, sexy, feminine fragrance with enough hint of sex to be alluring in the best of ways. The name is quite misleading. Although there is an overt sexuality here, it is not an all-flesh-bared sluttiness, but a subtle behind-closed-doors seduction. The notes for P de P include violet, rose, leather, lily of the valley, mandarin, ginger, rice powder, amber and animalic notes. P de P opens with a strong violet note, dry and powdery. In fact, violet is never far away throughout the duration of development and if you are not a fan of violet, you might not like this, particularly the opening. I detected an interesting doughy note, with an undertone of green, which I think is lily of the valley. Once the top dissipates, an amber and green violet accord wells up, slightly sweet yet fresh. At this point the demure, slightly withdrawn lady takes off her silky gown, revealing her earthly delights. A bit risque, I know, but P de P does start to become quite sexual, without my ever being able to pin down exactly what it is that makes it so. For some reason the mixture of violet, powder and a slight leather note reminds me of the smell of woman, and underwear, and maybe makeup or soap, but in a clean, just-washed-but-ready-for-bed way.  It's wholly feminine, and in a way I felt like an impostor wearing this, but it was too distracting to stop. 

I can't say I detected much (if any) rose, ginger or mandarin. I think the rice powder with the violet, amber and whatever animalic notes they have put in here creates that smell of warm, feminine, slightly aroused skin. The dry down does soften as the violet and leather fade, leaving an ambery, even slightly milky accord. Every now and then there is a waft of violet and that alluring seductive, sensuous body note. Although I'm emphasizing the sexuality of this perfume, it is not by any means sex-on-wheels, at least not obviously so. It is quite sophisticated, even elegant in many ways, but has just enough of something faintly disturbing to make it interesting, like all good perfumes do. I find this incredibly sexy and feminine and highly recommend it. P de P veers well over the gender line, making it something that I would struggle to wear to work, but damn, it still smelled good on me, so I'd hate to know (actually I'd love to know) what this smells like on a woman.

Image credit: www.fleurofengland.com

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Another visit to Liberty

I have been away for a few days again seeing a client down in Bournemouth. For those of you not familiar with the UK, Bournemouth is a previously genteel seaside resort in Dorset, which is a county sandwiched between Hampshire to the east and Devon to the west. Probably not the information you were anxious to read, but there you have it. I usually travel there by train, which necessitates a change in London. It's a long journey from where I live, but it does mean I can, if I wish, stop in London on the return trip and visit some perfume haunts. You may recall a post last month where I visited Liberty, the department store just off Oxford Circus, and pictured above left. It's a lovely building, but don't be fooled: as quaint as it looks, it isn't a period Tudor building at all, but was actually built in 1924 using the timber of ships. Nevertheless, it is a quirky store full of little rooms and antiquated chambers, a gorgeous wooden staircase and a lovely gallery at the top. It's worth a visit just for the architecture and curiously old-fashioned feel of it. One thing that is certain is that its merchandise is not out of date or old-fashioned; and the perfume selection is excellent. What I also like about Liberty is that its sales staff do not hassle you. They are quite content to leave you to browse, but if you require assistance they are more than willing to help. I can't say that it is very easy to come by samples though; I've only ever had success at the Diptyque counter. 

I tried quite a few perfumes this past Friday, almost all on paper, so any opinion I've formed is very much a first impression. I'll list them briefly.

Diptyque Vetyverio - this is ok, but has that typically light and understated feel that I find very common in the line. There is vetiver in this, but it is quite subdued and a little nutty/sweet. If you are looking for hard-core vetiver I would suggest moving on to the Frederic Malle counter to try Vetiver Extraordinaire.

L'Artisan Dzhongha - I tried this one on skin. Many of the line have less-than-impressive longevity, but Dzhongha lasted through two showers on my skin and was rather tenacious. It is an incense and tea fragrance, a little smoky and even floral. I was surprised by how sweet it wore on my skin too. In a way I kind of prefer it to Timbuktu but that sweetness does leave me feeling a little unsure.

Escentric 01 by Escentric Molecules - I'm sorry, I can't believe this is actually a perfume. Are they really selling water instead? I don't often say this, but this is a waste of shelf space. I think I have a relatively decent nose but I could not smell this one at all. It was literally fresh air on my skin. Honestly. If any of you have tried this, I'd love to get your take on it. Astounding, not in a good way.

Etro Shaal Nur - I quite liked this. A fairly approachable incense fragrance, perhaps a little sweeter than I would have liked but much easy to cope with than the gothic rising-damp monster that is Messe de Minuit, by the same line.

Comme de Garcon Ouarzazate - another incense, which I'm sure is no stranger to some of you, being one of the five in the incense series. It's not as severe and churchy as Avignon, and again, I quite liked this. It wasn't too sweet, and had a bit of a spice and tea accord which with the incense is contemplative and calming.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Cologne Pour le Soir - I haven't been a huge fan of Kurkdjian in the past, even though I do acknowledge his brilliance, but this is the second in this line that I've tried and it is good. It's a sort of rose-and-light-spice-with-amber/vanilla cologne, not too light but at the same time not at all heavy. It's been composed with a deft touch and is quite interesting for a cologne.

Parfums D'Empire Iskander - it's been quite a while since I tried one from this line, having sampled Ambre Russe and Cuit Ottoman in the past. Iskander is pretty much a slightly aromatic fougere, with predominantly citrus and moss and musk. It's very much in the style of De Nicolai's New York, I think, without the lavender. 

Parfumes D'Empire Equistrius - this is apparently an iris-based fragrance, which it may well be, but iris wasn't particularly evident on a scent strip. The opening was very similar to Ambre Russe I thought, with an alcoholic vodka-like note. Later on it smelled quite ambery to me. It is different and I wouldn't mind trying this on skin next time.

Well, that's about it, I think. Not proper reviews I suppose, and like I said, most of these were only sprayed on paper, so perhaps development on skin would be quite different. I think one thing this blog post hopefully shows is how good a range of perfumes Liberty stocks. I have listed the main players in my previous Liberty post, which can be read here.


Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Bois 1920 - Sushi Imperiale & Agrumi Amari Di Sicilia

Bois 1920 is a line that has been somewhat under the radar for me. I have easy access to the line, as it is stocked at one of my local department stores, but for some reason I've never sampled it in any depth. I have tried a handful of the perfumes, but for the most part they've left me feeling rather underwhelmed. They've been ok, just not very exciting. So today I decided to give Sushi Imperiale and Agrumi Amari di Sicilia a go. Sushi Imperial sounds very exotic and I was expecting something slightly zen, perhaps a bit salty or marine-like, with ginger. Instead, it turns out that this is a spicy/vanilla combination. The listed notes include citrus, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. I must admit, Sushi  opens distinctly unimpressively, with perhaps a hint of citrus, but I struggled to identify any notes and it felt muddied and indistinct. Once the top dissipates I detect quite a lot of friendly spices, if one can use such a term. I thought these might be cardamom and coriander, with a hint of anise, so I guess I wasn't very good at identifying cinnamon and nutmeg. I must be honest and say that I associate cinnamon and nutmeg very much with baking, particularly at Christmas, but Sushi does not have that festive vibe at all, thankfully for me. The spices are then joined by a vanilla note, but one that is not in the slightest sweet, syrupy or cloying. It's quite refreshing to find the usual vanilla cliches avoided and Sushi wears, at least on my skin, as a fairly dry and spicy scent, but moderated and balanced by a tasteful vanilla note. I have seen anise listed elsewhere, so perhaps my nose wasn't entirely tricking me. Sushi is in a way quite a comforting scent, but it isn't obviously gourmand to me and I think it could be worn all year round, but perhaps would be most suitable for early autumn, in my opinion.

Agrumi Amari di Sicilia has notes of Sicilian bitter citrus and hesperidian berries. Short and sweet and to the point. I don't know what a hesperidian berry is, but Agrumi is a quite delightful blend of lemon, orange and woods. The lemon note here is very good, without any hint of cleaning products, which can often be the downfall of lemon fragrances. It smells to me more like the flowers of a lemon tree, with the zest and oils of the green, rather than ripe fruit. It's a perfect summer fragrance, but like Eau de Sud, which I reviewed a few days ago, it is a   citrus fragrance with a backbone and lasts for a good 5 to 6 hours on my skin. The woods here are light cedar, joined by an orange blossom note that flirts briefly but then fades to leave a slightly sharp yet herbal lemon/neroli and basil leaf accord, sweetened a bit by orange. Like Eau de Sud, there is a bit of a nod to Eau Savage, but Agrumi is sufficiently different to either of those to warrant giving it a try. I think if you are looking for a good summery citrus scent with a bit of a difference and some staying power, you should really give Agrumi a go. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Both Sushi and Agrumi surprised me - I was expecting to feel let down and underwhelmed again, but possibly these two are the best of the Bois 1920 line for me.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Czech and Speake Frankincense and Myrrh

Czech & Speake is another of those slightly quirky, English perfumeries, also based in Jermyn Street in London (refer to my recent post on the Geo F. Trumper line). C&S, like Trumper, tends to turn out rather masculine perfumes, but not quite as old-fashioned as Trumper, with fewer colognes. They had a very generous sample programme about a year or so ago (perhaps they still do, it's worth checking) whereby if you registered on their website, they sent you samples of their entire collection for free. For some reason I registered twice by mistake, and lo and behold, I received two lots of their samples, so I am no stranger to their perfumes. I don't want to discuss the whole line, as it is relatively extensive, but one I wore today is Frankincense and Myrrh. I was in an incense frame of mind for some reason and thought I would revisit this oddity. The notes include citrus, basil, myrrh, camomile, clary sage, pimento leaf, lavender, frankincense, sandalwood and cedar. The opening is quite citrusy, and is joined fairly quickly by a muted incense note. If you enjoy perfumes like Heeley's Cardinal, Incense Pure by Sonoma Scent Studio, or Incense Extreme by Tauer, the C&S might just leave you feeling a little let down. Shortly after the incense interlude, a mild and quite sweet myrrh note emerges with a herbal accompaniment of Lavender. After that, Frankincense and Myrrh is all about Lavender on my skin, with some woods. It becomes slightly dated and the lavender dominates all the way into the dry down, and even then it never relinquishes its hold. In itself, this is not a poor fragrance, but I wanted more intense incense notes and in the end, I find it a wearable fragrance, but ultimately a little fusty and dull. It qualifies as unisex I suppose, but in my opinion sways more towards the masculine side.

While on the subject of C&S, I quite enjoy Dark Rose, which is a rose-oud combo very much in the vein of Montale's Black Oud, but milder and more approachable. It's probably my favourite in the line. No 88 receives a lot of love from male perfume lovers, particularly over at Basenotes. I find No 88 to be a slightly strange, musty and powdery rose-geranium perfume, not totally my cup of tea. It does have its rabid fans though, so who am I to disagree? The rest of the line is worth exploring, but I must admit that many of them leave me feeling slightly short-changed, particularly at these prices. However, if you can get free samples of these, then why not give them a go? You might just be pleasantly surprised. I suspect that a lot of the ladies among you might find C&S a bit easier to sample. Cuba and Citrus Paradisi in particular might be a good starting point, and although not my cup of tea, No 88 might appeal to the rose lovers among you.

Image credit: http://www.mensflair.com

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Random musings

This is not the most perfume-specific post for the start of August, but I've experienced a July that generally I'd rather forget. It had some highlights, to be sure, including my birthday (actually, on reflection, that might not be such a highlight ;-) ), and the fact that I still have the privilege of spending quality time with my wife and two young daughters, a fact I am very grateful for. However, July has been a month of crazy work deadlines and pressures, key staff leaving my firm, nights out of town (which I hate, as I don't like being away from my family), plus some monetary pressures. Forgive the sob story, but money is too tight to mention, which is not a pleasant subject and that is all I will say on the matter. I haven't made any perfume purchases since May, which is unusual for me, but necessary. One good thing about this is that it has forced me to revisit some old favourites, and even dig out bottles of perfume I actually own. Now isn't that a novelty?

The worst part of July, perfume-wise, is that with all the stress and pressure, I've really struggled to feel in the mood to wear perfume. In a way it is strange, because I often find fragrance a comfort, yet ironically I've felt so lacklustre that on many days I just couldn't be bothered. I think part of it is that I am loathe to create a negative association with a perfume. I can think f two examples of this in my perfume past. The first was when I went for an important job interview a couple of years ago. It was my first change of jobs for many years and a crucial changing point in my life. I remember I had been given a bottle of Terre D'Hermes for Christmas and I wore it to this January interview. Although it went well and turned out well, I was terrified and my fear of that situation is associated still with Terre D'Hermes; every time I wear Terre that smell still brings back that memory of fear. Another more recent example was at the end of last year when I was wearing Havana Vanille on one wrist and Nicolai Pour Homme on the other. Later that particular day I came down with the most awful headache and gastric flu I've ever had. Even now, eight months later, the smell of either of those two perfumes immediately recalls that exact feeling of being sick and I can't wear them - they make me want to retch. 

Anyway, I aim to be more positive this month and make a concerted effort to wear my favourite  perfumes every day and take control of my work situation and hopefully my finances too, rather than the other way round. 

On a last note, August is always a slightly melancholy month for me. I think part of it is to do with that atmosphere of most people being on holiday and also the fact that summer is winding down. Gone is the fresh greenness of spring and early summer, the blooms are fading, the grass is dry. The hay is cut and the days are humid and stifling. Does anyone have a suggestion for a perfume that will beat my late-summer-days blues?

If any of you are lucky enough to be going on holidays this month, I wish you a happy break and rest.


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