Wednesday, 30 November 2011


At the beginning of this year (March) I was contacted by Puredistance, who offered me a sample of their more masculine offering, M, to review. After my review I posted a link to it, and went on with life. See here for the original review.

Recently Puredistance contacted me again and asked for permission to have my article published in a book that they are making available as a PDF on their website. I was slightly taken aback, albeit safe in the knowledge that this is a marketing tool of sorts, not down to the sheer brilliance of my writing!

Now, I want to assure you that I am not writing this to brag, but to provide an example of how perfume companies can use the internet, blogs and electronic media to their advantage, but also to the consumer's.

Monday, 28 November 2011

When tuberose ain't so good

There are a couple of tuberose perfumes I've discovered recently that work quite well for me, namely L'Artisan's Nuit de Tuberose and Serge Luten's Tubereuse Criminelle.

However, today I encountered tuberose in its worst and deadliest form - worn by a woman with abandon. I work with this woman, sweet lady that she is, but she has no idea. She sprays on tuberose (and I don't know what perfume it is, I'm too afraid to ask) like others use Bodymist and leaves a trail from Kent to Katmandu. Even worse, try sitting right next to her for two hours in an over-heated room, in the most boring meeting ever invented by that twit, The Grey Accountant.

Hmm, you get my drift, I'm sure. If I had the money, I'd buy her bottles of the L'Artisan and Lutens...

Scent of the day - two from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

Today I sampled DSH's Gingembre and Cardamom & Kyphi. Both of these strike me as quite simple constructions, but not inferior.

Gingembre I like because it doesn't conjure up foodie associations for me. While it smells like ginger, it isn't too sweet and confectionery-like, nor too zesty-zingy. Once the ginger fades, it smells to me like a mild amber. Nice.

Cardamom & Kyphi is a little strange. It has a very realistic cardamom opening note, but once that fades it smells almost waxy to me. I still think I like it though. It is different enough that I haven't smelled anything else quite like it.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Favourites revisited

This past week was ever so slightly unusual for me in that I did not try anything new. Instead I wore some of my older favourites, which, thinking about it, is no bad thing.

What amazes me about these perfumes (why does it amaze me, it makes obvious sense really) is that each time I wear them, the memories and associations they evoke come flooding back and I always get that sense of "mmm, now I know why I love this so much".

Starting with Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, I realise that to me it is still my amber gold standard. What I like so much about Ambre Sultan is that it is complex and smells of more than amber, although amber is the star note. It never turns powdery on me, remaining fairly dry and herbal, and I love that. Like almost all Lutens I can think of, Ambre Sultan lasts and lasts - apply it at 8 in the morning and you will still smell it clearly at bedtime, and faintly the morning after.

On to L'air du Desert Marocain and I can't help but marvel how Andy Tauer manages to create perfumes so powerful and long lasting. A word of warning - if you encounter a Tauer you don't  like, watch out, because you will still be smelling it the morning after. His perfumes have stellar lasting power. Even so, this is a wonderful perfume, full of complexities. 

Finally, Guerlain's L'Instant for Men. I own a bottle of this and every time I wear it, I know I can justify this purchase. If you want to know what a quality, mainstream men's fragrance smells like, try this. L'Instant seems to get overlooked - I hardly ever read about it. I think it is wonderful.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Amouage Gold and Ubar

It's Saturday, I don't have to work, or meet anyone, or pretend to be Mr-Grey-Accountant-I-am-a-cedar-and-icky-synthetic-amber-Man (not that I do anyway), so today I pulled out my samples of Amouage and decided to wear Gold (for da Laydees) and Ubar.

Gold is good and powerful. Like a lot of the earlier Amouage fragrances, it isn't for the faint hearted. Described as a floral oriental, to me it may start quite floral and pushy, but dries down to a quality and sophisticated blend of sandalwood and incense, albeit still quite floral. I've seen this one described often as 'old lady like' and while I can sort of see why (I was surprised that this was released in 1983, according to Basenotes. Can this really be, or is Gold in the 21st century a reinterpretation of the original, bearing in mind likely reformulations anyway?) I don't personally think it smells that dated but irrespective, lets put it this way - this is no fruity floral circa 2011, thankfully.

As for Ubar, I think I actually prefer it to Gold. It is slightly sweeter, with a stronger green note, with Lily of the Valley. After this, a prominent rose note comes to the fore, not miles removed from the Lyric Note, but yet not the same either. The dry down is rich, with a hint of animalic, and still fairly sweet, but not cloying. The listed notes include civet and vanilla. A perusal of the top and base notes, including civet, vanilla, bergamot and lemon could lead one to think this might bear a resemblance to Shalimar, but actually it turns out to be a very different beast indeed.

As a man, while I find these fairly feminine, I didn't feel uncomfortable wearing them, but having said that, the grey accountant in me couldn't really see myself wearing this to a board meeting!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm sorry, I know this is slightly late, but happy Thanksgiving to those of you that celebrate it. 

I hope you all have a great holiday weekend (do you get the Friday as a holiday as well? I hope you do!) and whatever you do, be sure to celebrate with some excellent perfume too!

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady

Not having worn Portrait of a Lady for a good few months, wearing it today brought home the truth that this is one rose fragrance by Frederic Malle that I just don't quite get, or appreciate. I know it has its fans, but I find it a bit harsh, hinting at a synthetic clumsiness that depresses me.

I know, I know. That seems grouchy, and probably unfair, but give me the superior, earlier Une Rose by Edouard Flechier any day.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Can you guess?

Can you guess which city this is?

For a bonus point - name the area of this city.

Double bonus - can you name the canine connection?

Monday, 21 November 2011

Scent of the day - Serge Lutens Muscs Kublai Khan

This is the way to start the week, with a knockout from Uncle Serge. I haven't worn MKK for some time now, but wearing it again today reminded me why this one is so good. Musk for the musk lover, in my opinion.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Scent of Sunday - Acqui di Parma Colonia Assoluta

It's not particularly appropriate I think for a chilly, slightly foggy November day, but Colonia Assoluta does at least remind me of warmer days. 

Like many of the perfumes in the Acqua di Parma line, Assoluta to me is basically a citrus cologne, albeit a very well done one. Liberty lists the notes as bitter orange, bergamot, verbena, cardamom, pink peppercorns, paprika, jasmine, rose, cedar, amber and patchouli. To me it is nowhere near as complex as the notes might suggest, but I do like it. It has slightly less than average lasting power on my skin, but as it is a cologne, I wouldn't have expected much more.

Image credit -

Friday, 18 November 2011

Sampling Sonoma Scent Studio

I've mentioned Sonoma Scent Studio in previous posts, but not for some time now. The samples that I've got lend themselves best to the cooler months, I think, with the exception of Incense Pure, which I could wear all year round.

I've written about a few in the line before. For example, my thoughts on Wood Violet, Tabac Aurea, Sienna Musk and Incense Pure can be found here, while Winter Woods, Ambre Noir and Fireside Intense are here.

I don't aim to rehash my thoughts again, except to state that with time Tabac Aurea has definitely grown on me. Strangely, I now detect its tobacco note quite clearly and find it such a comforting, yummy scent. While none of these is foody per se, they all smell delicious. I can't quite explain it.

Another thing that strikes me about Sonoma Scent Studio in general is how reasonably priced their products are and also how easy it is to purchase from their website. I also love how they offer so many different sizes. This is so refreshing compared to better known perfumeries that offer one size - 100ml or nothing. I hate that.

If you haven't tried anything from this lovely perfume house, I would urge you to do so. I'm confident you will find at least one perfume in their line that will wow you. 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist

Iris Silver Mist is another one of those exclusive, non-export Lutens perfumes one always reads about. It has gained almost mythical status in perfume and I had been longing to try it for a number of years.

The notes include iris, clover, cedar, sandalwood, vetiver, white amber, benzoin, labdanum, musks and incense. What strikes me about Iris Silver Mist is how un-Lutens like it is. If you are expecting a rich, oriental spice fest (not that you would with iris I would guess) you would be mistaken. That's not to say it isn't surprising. It opens with a raw, vegetal, rooty, carrot-like odour that is quite unusual. At one point (and bear in mind I am dabbing, not spraying) it smells like vodka, or at least some raw spirit distilled from potatoes or another root vegetable. 

After the strong opening Iris Silver Mist softens considerably. It isn't powdery exactly, but it does become soft, silky, almost like a sheer veil scented with violets and powder. There are a lot of notes listed that I don't readily identify, but I don't want to over-complicate it. Essentially Iris Silver Mist is a compelling Iris perfume that certainly stands out.

Is it one of my favourite Lutens? No, not really. I like it, but don't feel like I'm falling in love. I'd happily wear it, but I do prefer others in the line, but I do know that it has its acolytes, and rightly so. I do like encountering Lutens perfumes that avoid what has become known, somewhat cliched now, as that Lutens oriental accord. Like Tubereuse Criminelle for example, it really pushes the boat out by taking a note and presenting it in a way I haven't smelled before. 

Monday, 14 November 2011

A store, a friend and Amouage

I have a friend at a department store in Tunbridge Wells. She shall remain nameless for the purpose of this post, but some of you who have followed my blog for some time might be aware that she has been very generous in supplying me with many samples. In turn, I have tried to return the favour a little by giving her various samples to try from my collection, many of which are not readily available at most stores. 

Over time we've swopped perfume and other stories and enjoyed a bit of a natter at lunchtimes. Anyway, last week she gave me a whole lot of Amouage samples, including Gold, Dia, Ubar, Jubilation, Lyric, Epic and Reflection. I've tried many of these before, but I am always grateful to get my hands on more, for I am a Amouage fan, again as some of you will know.

Today I am wearing Dia for Men, a perfume I never grow tired of. I've reviewed it before, here, but suffice to state that it smells gentlemanly (in a good way) but by no means boring, sophisticated and frankly, just damn good. 

So, to my perfume friend, thank you and here's to more perfume patter!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

CB I Hate Perfume Black March

Uh oh, its happened again. I've tried another perfume in this line that just does not do it for me. What can I say about Black March? It smells ok, for the 5 minutes that I can detect it on my skin. Another oil based perfume from CB I Hate Perfume, it has that curiously muted and flat feel that both Musk Reinvention and Burning Leaves had too.

Black March smells slightly green, slightly cold, slightly fresh. If it had just some oomph, it might have had promise. Instead it leaves me feeling powerfully underwhelmed.

I honestly have no vendetta again this line. In fact, after reading terrific reviews of these very perfumes I'm left wondering what it is that other people are getting that I'm not.

Please, if you have tried any of these, I'd welcome your feedback on how they perform on your skin. For me, its pass, pass, pass.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Another visit to London

I was in London again this past Monday. Its weird in a way, because 3 months went by without a visit to the Capital, and all of a sudden I've been there 3 times in almost as many weeks.

I had a client meeting in the City of London, in a room overlooking the massive domed roof of St Paul's Cathedral. If that isn't inspiring, then I don't know what is. Less inspiring is what has been going on outside St Paul's (and inside, but that's another matter). My American colleagues are probably not up to speed on this, but for the last few weeks, protestors have been camping outside the Portico of the church, ostensibly under the banner of Occupy London, a group/organisation/whatever that is against capitalism, primarily bankers and banking institutions. Presumably this extends to the clergy and officials of the Church of England. I don't know - I'm total apolitical, so generally don't get into this sort of thing. I only mention it because I've seen it all over the news the past couple of weeks and it was strange to then walk past the scene myself.

On my way to a training course in the afternoon, I passed Liberty and had to pop in for a while to see what was on offer. I saw some interesting perfumes. I sampled Le Labo's Poivre 23 and Santal 33, both of which are very interesting, but I preferred Santal 33. Poivre 23 reminds me, mainly in the dry down, of a more peppery Patchouli 24. Santal 33 is compelling. I can't say why, but it just grabbed me for some reason. I'm not even sure that it smells so much of Sandalwood, but it smells good anyway.

I also sprayed numerous perfumes on scent strips, including the new Blood Concepts (O, A, B and AB). I don't know what it is about these, but they strike me as being very much like something Comme de Garcons would try release. They have that sort of vibe, in my opinion.

I also looked at some of the Prada exclusive collection, such as Cuir Amber, Oppoponax and Benzoin. They smell decent, but I'm not sure I would pay those prices for what are essentially quite straightforward single-note perfumes, no matter what the quality. Not easy to test on a strip either once the bottles are quite empty, as there is no applicator; the bottles look like  apothecary  bottles.

I ended the day having dinner with two old friends and it was good to catch up, but they are going through quite a tough time in their lives, not relationship wise though. I hope they come out well the other end in time...

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Scent of the day is...

Christian Dior's Leather Oud. To me its an indicator of quality when I keep on returning to a fragrance. Leather Oud just smells great. Smoothly animalic, warm, slightly leathery. Almost rosy in a way. While oud is present, this is by no means to me an oud-centric perfume. You little beauty!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Penhaligons Juniper Sling

I'm a little late in getting round to trying Juniper Sling, and really, only weeks away from winter, this strikes me as far more appropriate for summer.

Anyway, the notes from Penhaligons include cinnamon, orange brandy, angelica, juniper berry, cardamom, leather, black pepper, orris wood, brown sugar, black cherry, vetiver and ambrox.

To be honest, I think this is a very well done perfume, understated, chic, yet just enough to keep it interesting. Having said that, half (or more than half) these notes do not register to me at all. My listing would be gin, citrus, black and pink pepper, vetiver, cedar and musk, with perhaps a hint of suede leather. Forget cherries, sugar and orange brandy, in my opinion, and certainly on my skin.

If I were to compare it to another perfume, I would mention Ormonde Jayne's Isfarkand. It has that vibe about it, which again, is no bad thing at all.

Juniper Sling is quite possibly (actually it is) my favourite perfume from Penhaligons. Well worth seeking out.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Perfume Precis

I've been going through quite a few samples recently, following my purchases from The Perfumed Court (finally) and my visit to Les Senteurs in London.

I thought I would summarise my experiences of these. Some I have written about in detail, others hardly touched upon at all. As some of you who read this blog know, I went on a bit of a Lutens bender in October, sampling some non-exports such as Iris Silver Mist, Encens et Lavande, Tubereuse Criminelle, Santal De Mysore, Rose De Nuit and Boxeuse. Of these, the two that really stood out for me were Santal De Mysore and Tubereuse Criminelle. Not that the others weren't good, although Boxeuse was my least favourite and the most humdrum of the lot, for me anyway.

I've also tried Jules by Christian Dior and an oud by Ajmal called Dahn Oudh Al Shams. Even I am getting sick of the whole oud thing, not that Ajmal is a newbie niche line getting in on the oud bandwagon. Damn oud indeed...

I dabbled with Ungaro I, II and III. I and II impressed, III not so much. Not surprising then that III is the only one still in production. 

On to the CB I Hate Perfumes. I don't want to say much here. So far, not impressed at all, but I will revisit these and see if I form a different opinion down the line.

Francis Kurkdjian beckoned, so I ordered all the perfumes in the line. I haven't written about them yet, but suffice to say that Cologne Pour le Soir was my favourite, which drums home the fact that I still need to pluck up the courage to buy a bottle of the Absolue, which is my absolute favourite.

On to the Les Senteurs stuff. I've tried a couple of ELDOs, Tom of Finland and Like This. Both were really nice and different to some of the others I've tried in the line. I was underwhelmed by Amber Precieux in as much as it reminded me strongly of Montale's Blue Amber at times, but I suspect I need to try it more, because I think there is a lot more to it. At the risk of making snap judgments, I did not take to Andy Tauer's Pentachords Auburn. Yuck, yuck, yuck. It smells like a synthetic musk-in-the-laundry-gone-wrong mess. Sorry. Oh yes, and Bois Blond by Parfumerie Generale. Hmm, not bad. Not sure if I'm falling in love, but decent.

So, we are now in November and last night my kids went trick-or-treating as Halloween brought October to a close. I'm looking forward to November. I feel like my perfume writing has picked up again and as my busy period at work draws to a close I feel almost renewed.

I'll leave you with a picture from last night! .....


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