Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Scent of the day - Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour Le Soir

Nothing new today, but Absolue Pour Le Soir is still my favourite of the line.

Mellow, yet animalic, honeyed, suffused with hints of rosemary, smoke and a touch of incense, it just smells good. That instinctive sort of good, where you don't have to think about it.

The alchemy that sometimes, if you're very lucky to encounter it, is perfume at its best.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Penhaligon's - Vaara

My local Fenwick's department store stocks most, if not all, of the Penhaligon line, and they recently got in Vaara, Penhaligon's latest release.

The fragrance is apparently inspired by the Royal House of Marwar-Jodpur in Rajastan and was created by Bertrand Duchaufour. If this has a ring of familiarity about it, at least in terms of subject matter, you wouldn't be wrong. Just think of the fairly recent work Mr Duchaufour did with the Neela Vermeire line. More about that shortly.

The initial opening is more fruity than I thought it might be. When first testing, I did not know the exact notes, so suspected Mango. I did know that there is carrot seed, but wouldn't expect that the seed would have a fruitiness to it. As it turns out, what I was smelling is very likely quince. The fruity opening is combined with some spices, but is not heavy at all. Underneath the spices is a slightly soapy, zingy feel as well as a softer, almost creamy, lactonic accord. This is the stage at which I make a particular connection to the Neela Vermeire creations, all of which had a similar creamy accord.

As Vaara dries down, it softens and fades considerably on my skin. I tested this at least three times over the last week and this happened each time. After about three hours, Vaara has become a very soft, slightly creamy skin scent, suffused with mellow spice. I can't say that I detected half of the notes listed below. For example, I didn't get any honey and not much rose. The saffron and coriander no doubt contributed to the spicy overtone early on.

While I really like parts of Vaara's development, I am slightly disappointed with its dry down, and how quickly it fades on my skin. Perhaps this is to do with my skin chemistry. I would like to try Vaara again perhaps in cooler weather, and see how it performs then. Of all the recent Penhaligon fragrances I have tried, the concept of Vaara appeals to me the most, and it has the most promise for my tastes. I wasn't particularly impressed with Peony, sort of liked Sartorial, but am not a massive fan of Fougeres, and the floral/banana/tropical/creamy Amaranthine just turned my stomach.

Notes from Penhaligon's:

Quince, rosewater, carrot seed, coriander seed, saffron
Moroccan rose, Bulgarian rose, freesia, Indian magnolia, peony, iris
Honey, white musk, cedarwood, sandalwood, benzoin, tonka bean

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Solo Loewe

Loewe is a Spanish house, I think. I've had samples of Solo for ages. I can't for the life of me remember where I got them from and who stocked the perfume, but I do know that I haven't seen Solo anywhere else since then.

I always seem to reach for Solo when it is hot and muggy, like it was this weekend. It is essentially a cologne, but with considerable lasting power. Fragrantica lists copious notes, including lavender, mandarin, bergamot, guava, lemon, thyme, rosemary, cashmirwood, patchouli, costus, aldehydes, nutmeg, cinnamon, pink pepper, mint, caraway, anise, tangerine, amber, musk, oakmoss and vanilla.

I can't say I detect all these notes - I primarily detect citrus notes, musk, woods and a melange of spices and herbs. Solo does smell very good though, and best of all, fairly unique, at least to me. It doesn't smell fresh off the conveyor belt of focus-group hell.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Tom Ford Sahara Noir

Before I even try to carry out any sort of review of Sahara Noir, let me start by saying that I think it is my favourite Tom Ford fragrance. I haven't tried a lot of the Private Blends to date, to be fair (although this is set to change, as Fenwicks in Tunbridge Wells is about to stock some of the PB range) but certainly Sahara Noir comes up trumps in the main line.

That's not to say that I dislike Tom Ford's main line, in fact I quite like all of them, but Sahara Noir smells like a niche perfume that somehow got misplaced and ended up in mainstream by mistake. Again, I should make it very clear that none of the TF perfumes in the main line smell ubiquitously mainstream, to their credit.

I have read a few reviews of Sahara Noir, and it seems like some people felt it smelt good, but at the end of the day was an incense perfume that smelt just like that: incense. Perhaps that is the case, but the question I would ask is how many full on incense perfumes are you likely to find in your local department store? I'd hazard a guess that it would be very few, if  any at all. Now, I also have to accept that Sahara Noir is priced very high, and that may give you an indication as to the quality of the creation and the ingredients, although I realise that price and quality do not always correlate.

One other thing that struck me is that while Sahara Noir is marketed as a feminine perfume, it does not smell remotely gender specific. Take the picture of the sultry woman off the packaging and advertising and I would never have remotely guessed.

I'm not aware of the exact notes for Sahara Noir, but other than incense, there is a fair amount of labdanum in here. Some people have commented that the perfume smells only of incense, and comes across as one-dimensional. Perhaps they are right, but I love incense in any form, and on my skin the ambery accord does come to the fore in the dry down, when labdanum is very clear to my nose. There is a slight sweetening too in the base, possibly by a touch of vanilla, but it is true that Sahara Noir is a fairly dry perfume, which suits me fine, as I love that style.

I have to be honest and say that I think this is a lovely perfume, although it is by no means cheap. Someone commented that it smelt like it belongs in the Private Blend collection and perhaps that is true. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Hello, I'm still alive and out there people

Just in case anyone forgets that I still exist, I haven't gone away or decided to stop blogging. But thanks to those of you that were concerned. *

I guess July has just been one of those months crammed with lots of events and activities that have taken my attentions and energies away from perfume and blogging. In fact, over the last few months I've come to realise that there is a lot more to my life than simply sitting in front of a computer writing my own posts and reading others. No offense to any 'regulars' or otherwise reading this - I still enjoy reading other people's sites and perfume reviews, but it just isn't that compelling for me at present.

Of course, over the last month I have become a British citizen, had my sister come to visit for three weeks (I only get to see her roughly once every two years), got bogged down in crappy work pressures, and turned forty. In between all of this I have worn some perfume, but in the heat wave we're currently experiencing, many of my favourite types of perfumes are not enticing - who wants strong tobaccos, ambers, leathers and the like when it is 30 degree plus with 90 percent humidity?

So apologies for coming across slightly curmudgeonly and flippant even, but that's just the way it is at present. I have a few things to write about, and perhaps I'll fit them in this month. If not, I am sure they can wait. Either way, I doubt the perfume world is waiting with baited breath!

Till later, ciao for now.

* In fact, no one was particularly concerned, I just wanted to add that for dramatic effect


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