måndag 20 april 2015

Ramon Monegal - Hand in Hand

Picture: Skiers
Painting by Frits Thaulow (1847-1906)

Hand in Hand is an oud-oriental  inspired perfume from the Barcelona based perfumehouse Ramon Monegal. As usual the very experienced perfumer, the house of Myrurgia offspring, Ramon Monegal. As Myrurgia is mentioned as the Guerlain of Spain, Ramon could be likened to a spanish version of Patricia de Nicolaï. Both well educated and experienced in perfume/perfume business, running own perfume houses, independent from the old family houses which since long been sold to some of the big ones.

Hand in Hand starts cold, with a woody smell of juniper bush and pine in winter. After a while a smoky accord appears, it's the fresh, dry smell from dry wood, lighted to a campfire a cold and sunny winterday in the forest. This is not the rough,  masculine, meaty, smoky accord as in the campfiresmoke in Mona di Orio Les Nombres d'Or Cuir, the smoke in Hand in Hand is more refined. After a while a hint of leather ant a peppery note also shines through. The dark rose is  discrerte in the first stages of Hand in Hand. Over all the first part of Hand in Hand (even if not smelling the same) reminds me of the first part of Robert Piguet Oud, which also contains the cold, pine note. These two fragrances could be described as the ouds of the North, they are very suitable to the Scandinavian landscape and colder tempratures. Hand in Hand also has some kinship to Frapin Nevermore, as an unsweet, dry relative to that dark, dramatic, boozy, intriguing one. In the second part Hand in Hand becomes more spicy, a spicy mix which togheter with a musky base brings forward the rose a bit more, even if the rosy note not is as dominating as in most rose-oud combos. The rosy note is as integrated with the other notes. In the later stages of Hand in Hand I find similarites with the dark, purple, rose from Parfumerie Générale Isparta.
Picture: Hand in Hand in it's inkwell bottle
Photo: PR Ramon Monegal (c)
The cold, confier and smoke accords  is the first part of Hand in Hand I find the most interesting, the second part is more familiar for this style of fragrance. Hand in Hand could be worn year around at any occasion where a more intense pefume could be accepted. The fragrance is very concentrated, and just as with Isparta, it's hard to avoid overapplying. Less is more is definitly what is applicable in this case. Sillage is great and longevity for 24h+. Hand in Hand is unisex, leaning to the feminine side according to my nose.

Rating: 4

Notes: Rose, oud, spices, musk

måndag 13 april 2015

Le Galion - Sortilège

Picture: Le Galion Sortilège
Photo: PR Le Galion (c)
Sortilège is like all the other re-released Le Galions a reinterpreation/ reconstruction of the Paul Vacher fragrances, created for his house, Le Galion during the 1930s to 1970s. The reworking of the fragrances is performed by perfumer Thomas Fontaine.

Sortilège starts with subdued, soft, very aldehydic flowers, a non perfumista would probably belive that the topnotes are off. The impression is very vintage, in a soft, non-screachy way, a wonderful opening to my nose. There is also a light, smooth spicy (cinnamon) impression, contrasting the soft flowers. As Sortilège reaches its heart flowers are still embedded in an aura of aldehydics but much softer and not as outstanding as in the initial blast. The flowers are warm, soft yellow, like the golden nectar, seamless mixed in a fleeting during a balsamic, warm, woody slight ambery base which becomes excellent creamy in texture after some hours.

Sortilège is a fragrance for elegant occasions year around. The sillage is medium and longevity for at least a day. Of course it could be worn also for work, this is a perfume that boosts ones confidence.

Picture: Le Galion Sortilège
Photo: PR Le Galion (c)
Sortilège, first created in 1965, havn't smelled the vintage, traditionally was one of the topsellers from Le Galion and I'll not be surprised if the modern interpretation will follow the original. It's a beautiful, retro styled fragrance, interpreted in a contemporary but in the same time timeless style. It's very elegant, sort of french in style, there are similarities in style, with the aldehydes in Hermès Calèche. Somehow I also associate to Parfums de Nicolaï  Le Temps d'une Fête even if the latter is a green floral fragrance, rougher and outdoorsy compared to the artistic bound floral bouquet in the salon, Sortilège. Also the beautiful Antonia from Puredistance comes to my mind when testing Sortilège. It could also be compared as the feminine counterpart to Le Galion Special for Gentlemen the same elegant timeless, retro style. To me Sortilège together with Special and Iris is the best fragrances from what I have tested from Le Galion.

Rating: 5

Notes: Lily-of-the-valley, lilac, ylang-ylang, aldehydes, jasmine, narcissus, rose, iris, mimosa, sandalwood, vetiver, labdanum, musk, amber 

Thanks to Fragrance & Art for the sample to test

torsdag 9 april 2015

Le Galion - Snob

Picture: Tagetes, probably T. patula, on Gotland, Sweden
Photo: A friend of author Per Enström, user Plkr (cc)
Wikimedia commons, some rights reserved
Snob is another of the reworked and re-released fragrances from classical french perfumehouse Le Galion. The reworkings are performed by Thomas Fontaine, the originals were created by Paul Vacher.

Snob starts with sparkling, almost metallic, cold flowery, crisp fruity notes with a touch of saffron. As Snob dries further down, medium bright rosy note appears, if I imagine a color, it's creamy white. The rose is backed up with classical white flowers. Soon the note that seems to be the twist of this fragrance shows up; the tangy, sour and almost citric note of tagets, a great contrast to the rest of this well behaved floral mix. The tagets makes me think of Montale Aoud Red Flowers a darker and denser, more distinkt floral-woody-oriental fragrance featuring the not so common flower (in perfume); tagetes.
The flowery, sparkling coolness remains during the whole drydown of Snob. The base is bright as rest of the fragrance, woody-musky without powdery notes.

Picture: Le Galion Snob
Photo: PR Le Galion (c)
Snob is a good fragrance for spring and summer, an elegant, but not snobbish, officescent with a twist in the overall floral harmony. Longevity is good, about a day, sillage is descent. Those who likes a bright, wellmade  floral boquet in a timeless style like for example Jean Patou Joy would probably appreciate to test Snob as also the other florals from Le Galion, all well made in a opulent and timeless style. Which one to prefer is in the end up to the personal floral taste.

Rating: 3

Notes: Mandarin, bergamot, saffron, apple, rose, jasmine, orange blossom, iris, tagetes, sandalwood, cedarwood, musk

Thanks to Fragrance & Art for the sample to try.

måndag 6 april 2015

Le Galion - 222

Picture: The light leather 222
Photo: PR Le Galion (c)
Le Galion 222 is another reissue/reconstruction of an old fragrance from the house of Le Galion. Thomas Fontaine has reworked the old formula of Paul Vacher.

222 starts with a accord  similar to cardamon (not mentioned in the notelist) and leather, first the spicy note appears, than the leather intensifies. In this stege 222 reminds me of the cardamon infused trio Veni, Vidi, Vici by Histoire de Parfum.The leather is a natural smelling, medium strenght leather, like the leather in a pair of gloves, not the rough leather of a black bikers jacket nor the smooth leather inside a fine handbag. The leathery/spicy accord is balanced with a cold, slight nondescript  flowery accord and the fragrance as a whole is cold in texture. The base is sort of clean, contemporary mossy/woody with the leather still apperant. In the basenotes 222 reminds me of a smoother and weaker Helmut Lang Cuiron (vintage version).

222 is a gentle leather, suitable for most daytime occasion, for most season exept the warmest summerdays. Those who like light leathers like Hermès Kelly Caleche, Cuir de Lancome etc, could also appreciate 222.

Rating: 3

Notes: Violet, myrrh, styrax, lavender, geranium, coumarin, oakmoss, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, leather

torsdag 2 april 2015

Easterfrags 2015

Picture: The Peter the Great Egg, 1903
Photo: Uploaded from Dutch and UK Wikipedia,
no rights reserved for the file
Easter is more of a "fragranceholiday" than Christamas to me. In Christmas there are so many other competing smells as from the Christmastree, Glögg (swedish mulled wine), saffron bread, red cabbage, mustard etc. Easter is expressed in  three distinct fragrancegroups to me: The foody - gourmand fragrances, the crispy - green fragrances,  especially the ones containing bulb flowers or cold iris and the churchy- incense or precious resinfragrances. Below some reaible ones from each category:

The foody
Kiss Me Intense (Parfums de Nicolaï): Pastry and sweet floral high-level gourmand pleasure.
Cuir Garamanate (Parfums MDCI): Some dark, boozy almost liqurie notes hides in this powerful woody blend.
Nevermore (Frapin): Now we're entering the dark, boozy territory, mysterious and dark as Good Friday itself.

The crispy
No 19 Edp (Chanel): Contains more flowery notes than the Edt, beautiful iris, rose, galbanum accord.
Amazone (Hermès): Crispy, cold, green bouquet with bulbflowers with some amplifying fruity notes. An old time favorite, very casual chic.
Antonia (Puredistance): Green leaves and stems in a beautiful sunny, floral composition. Timeless, casual chic, perfect for the Easter lunch.

The churchy
Pink Quartz (Olivier Durbano): A pink mineral rose with myrrh, incenses and precious spices. Cold as the marble of the cathedral, contrasted with the warmth and smell of the incense burned inside.
Relique D'Amour (Oriza L.Legrand): The small medival chapel with a Madonnasculpture who has listened to centuries of prayers.
Passage d'Enfer (L'Artisan Parfumeur): Incense in the air, lillies on the altar and a ray of light shining through the gotic windows of the cathedral.

Wish you a Happy Fragrant Easter!

måndag 30 mars 2015

Parfums de Nicolaï - Kiss Me Intense

Picture: The Kiss (1908-1909)
Painting by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)
Wikimedia commons
Kiss Me Intense is a reworked version of Kiss Me Tender Edt which was launched 2010. As usual when it comes to the house of de Nicolaï, Mme de Nicolaï herself is the creater of the fragrance.

Kiss Me Intense starts with a beautiful, warm, lush, sunny and somehow fresh note of heliotrope. It's not overly sweet, it's like it's just picked and some of the juicy green from the steam and leaves are also included. The heliotrophe is sweet and warm,  close to the scent of mimosa but thicker and darker in scent and texture. Almond and anice add gourmand sweetness to the fragrance and the mix smells almost like a soft almondcake. The flowery, gourmand accords are saftely anchored in a soft vanilla base. The fragrance is quite linear and the wearer could enjoy most of the notes  simultaneously. Kiss Me is a very cosy and embracing fragrance, like a smooth cashmerejumper. Somehow Kiss Me reminds me of how I imagine the atmosphere in beginning of the last century, the era of Gustav Klimt, where elegant ladies enjoying pasteries in Wiener cafés.

Picture: Kiss Me Intense in 30 and 100 ml
Photo: PR Parfums de NIcolaï (c)
To me Kiss Me Intense is a bit less pastery and more of the flower than the Edt version. It's a very good, sort of natural smelling gourmand fragrance, not too sweet or cloying, it has an uplifting sparkle to it. The gourmand style combined with the sweet flowernote makes Kiss Me perfect to wear for Easter. The longevity is good, at least for a day and sillage medium. Kiss Me is a fragrance for comforting, casual chic occasions and would also suit for casual Friday in the workplace.

Kiss Me is for those who like gourmands like Etro Heliotrope, Editions Frederic Malle Dries van Noten, By Kilian Intoxicated Carner Barecelona Rima XI and El Born

Rating: 5

Notes :Heliotrope, vanilla, star anise, almond, hay.

måndag 23 mars 2015

Mona di Orio - Nuit Noire (old and new version)

PictureNocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket
Oil on canvas 1875
by James Abbott MacNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Wikimedia commons

Nuit Noire is, just as Lux, reviewd recently, one of the earliest fragrances created by Mona di Orio and has been withdrown from the market for some years. Now it has re-appered in the Signature collection. According to information from the house of Mona di Orio, no changes in the composition either of Lux nor Nuit Noire is done in the reissued fragrances.

Nuit Noire reveals its true self right from the start: Already the introducing accords are dirty, animalic, obscure floral oriental with a wiff from the stable, a mysterious and dangerous magic potion. I detect, or at least imagine I detect, citrus in the new version, which probably faded a bit in my original bottle where the opening is less sparkling, a subdued, dark orangeblossom/tubereuse, spices which are quiet, with a texture and color as darkbrown silkvelvet. There are also notes of ambery leather, a furry animalic, civet styled note combined with a bit sweet and slight animalic almost fuggy musky note, not the vegetal musk or clean musky note which are more common in contemporary perfumes. Expect from the short wiff of citrus in the very beginning there is not much that differs when comparing the old and new version. I precieve the basenotes of the new one as a tad lighter, this is just a nuance and maybe it depends on how much was applied on each wrist from the beginnig and how much is washed off during the day etc.

Picture: Nuit Noire (new bottle)
Photo: PR Parfums Mona di Orio (c)
Nuit Noire is a fragrance in the same vein as Caron Nuit de Noël and  Jean Desprez Bal à Versailles but softer, more polished and not as old fashioned even if retro styled. I can imagine a mature and elegant woman wearing this a very dark night in late autumn. It's intriguing with all facets that appears during the relatively linear dry down. Nuit Noire has close sillage and good longevity, traces are left after 24h. A fragrance for evening/night in autumn /winter or for daytime cold days, adding some everyday drama. A classic in the typical elegant, well made and timeless style of Mona di Orio.

Rating: 5

Notes: Orange blossom, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, tuberose, sandalwood, cedar, clove. amber, musk, tonka, leather