måndag 5 oktober 2015

Five fab frags for fall 2015

Already in the middle of the autumn, which are probably the best days when it comes to wearing perfume over the whole year. Crisp and chilly days are contrasted with almost summery tempratures, the last traces of the summer. This encourages the use of fragrances representing quite different perfumestyles. Below some favorites for the mid season, excluding the ones I have tried and/or reviewed during the latest weeks.
Picture: Perle de Mousse
Photo: Parfums Ann Gerard (c)
Perle de Mousse (Ann Gerard): Many describes this as a springscent, probably because the Lily of the vally note which is one of the protagonists together with ivy and galbanum. To me it's autumn as I precieve it as golden, glowing, tart and dusky as the moisty forestfloor.
Picture: Eau Soleil
Photo: PR Parfums de Nicolaï (c)
Eau sOleil (Parfums de Nicolaï): From the 2013 Nicolaï summercollection of lighter and easy to wear fragrances. To me this warm and golden nerolifragrance where the citric notes are skillfully balanced with herbal notes is like a sunny day in the autumn, a warming sun with some crisp chilliness in the shadow.
Picture: La Religieuse
Photo: PR Serge Lutens (c)
La Religieuse (Serge Lutens): This subdued, slight soapy and animalic jasmine havn't many fans when reading comments and reviews. To me it's sort of contemplating and serene reminding me somehow of an everyday variation emerged from one of my most favorite SL:s ever, De Profundis.

Picture: Gucci by Gucci Edp
Photo: PR Gucci (c)
Gucci by Gucci (Gucci): I very much appreciate this contemporary chypre both in the darker fruitier Edp version as also in the more flowery Edt. It's dark, stripped patchouli with  its earthy freshness adds a contrasting dept to both versions. A modern classic.

Picture: Colonia Oud
Photo: PR Acqua di Parma (c)
Acqua di Parma Colonia Oud (Acqua di Parma): The top and middlenotes of this are fabulous, a flowery oud which reminds me of the slight flowery cambodian oud. In the basenotes it's more of a standard peppery woody (porbably cedar) oud but some of the flowery woody accord glimpses now and then.

Which are your mid-fall favorites?

måndag 28 september 2015

Parfums de Nicolaï - Ambre Cashmere Intense

Picture: Autumn oakleaves
Photo: Parfumista (c)
Ambre Cashmere Intense is the latest addition to the perfumeline of Parfums de Nicolaï, the reaible, quality niche house founded by the Guerlain descendant, perfumer Patricia de Nicolaï . The house celebrated a quarter of a century last year.

Ambre Cashmere starts with a beautiful, sparkling accord dominated by a full and round lemony note cleverly mixed with pepper. The pepper is not at all dominating, which unfortunately is very common with this note. Instead of beeing overdosed the pepper adds sparkle and contributes to a dry and warm impression. The lemony note has some green accents which adds an very elegant texture to the fragrance.I recognize this accord from other Nicolaïs as for example L'Eau Chic and Vanille Tonka, it's seems to be something like a signature for the casual chic style of Nicolai. When Ambre Cashmere reaches the middlenotes, a slight buttery note with a floral touch appears. Despite the buttery texture there is something almost ozonic, fizzy appearing for a while. A beautiful, dry vanilla which feels unprocessed and natural appears, there is not the candy sweetness nor the woody old-book smelling vanilla version. The vanilla in the basenotes is balanced with smooth, rounded resins, a powdery tonkabeen with a touch of patchouli which together with a light musk adds dept and longevity to the scent. Ambre Cashmere is intresting also in the basenotes, the fragrance is shifting in its performance, for example suddenly the base becomes a tad spicy, an almost cinnbar like note which I recognize from (but here it appears in a lighter form) the very special, most unusual patchouli secnt I have sniffed so far, Patchouli Homme which I think is renamed to Patchouli Intense. Further in the drydown the spicy patch gets cleaner, earthier but still discrete and supporting, not at all dominating.
Picture: Ambre Cashmere Intense
Photo: PR Parfums de Nicolaï (c)
Ambre Cashmere is a light, soft and uplifting amberperfume. The amber is not dominating as the name implies, the amber is discretly present, surrounding the fragrance and creating a soft, golden aura around the wearer. When it comes to the overall gentle apperance and texture of the fragrance, the "Intense" part of its namn it hard to understand. Ambre Cashmere is a perfect perfume in the first beautiful part of the autumn with the golden sunlight and the leaves shifting in orange and yellow. Something with Ambre Cashmere reminds me of Mona di Orio Les Nombres d'Or Ambre even if not smelling the same, the MdO Ambre is more distinct with a dry gunpowdernote. Anyway both fragrances are light ambers in the higher octaves of the notescale, powdery and cashmerelike in texture. Wearing these fragrances is like to be wrapped in a featherlight cashmereshawl.

Ambre Cashmere is a discrete fragrance with close sillage but  clearly present to the wearer and to those who are in 1-2 meters distance. A wearable and elegant fragrance, even if classified as unisex it's IMO leaning to the feminine side. Longevity is good, last unfragmented for a day and when it comes to this aspect of the perfume, it deserves the epithet "Intense". Even if not the most exciting or innovative perfume, Ambre Cashemere is very well made, elegant, relaxing to wear and as always with Nicolaï. perfectly blended and balanced.

Raring: 4

Notes: Black pepper, mandarine, citron, orrisrooth, violet, cloves, vanilla, labdanum, benzoin, tonka been, patchouli, sandalwood, amber, musk

måndag 21 september 2015

Parfume d'Empire - Musk Tonkin

Picture: Marlene Dietrich, a worthy wearer of Musk Tonkin
Image source: i006.radikal.ru
Musk Tonkin from Parfume d'Empire was first introduced as a limited parfume edition in 2012. In 2014 an Edp version was launched. Musk Tonkin is created by P d'E founder, perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato. The review will cover both the perfume and the Edp versions.

The concept behind Musk Tonkin is an attempt to recreate the smell of the real animalic musk tonkin  which is derived from the musk deer, using vegetal and syntetical musk replacement.

From the beginning until the end Musk Tonkin is vintage in style, as a 1930s diva in a  biascutted velvety evening gown and a grand furstole. The fragrance starts  dark, heavy, musky flowery, the parfume rounder, smoother and more close to the skin. The Edp is lighter, playing in the higher octaves with some almost citric/fruity notes wich gives the fragrance an  almost sparkling radiance in the first accords. The perfume version goes straight to be a skinscent, and even if close, it's a skinscent with quite a detectable sillage. As the topnotes have vanished, the Edp approach to the parfume and becomes quite similar even if I can discern some minor differences, the parfume is still a notch more dark flowery, a bit more velvety and smooth, the Edp still a bit brighter and sharper. In the middlenotes both versions becomes more musky and also a bit spicy, cumin is defenitely involved but in smaller potions than in Parfums d'Empire Aziyade. Indolic, white flowers interacts with the prominent vegetal musky note, a vegetal musk that reminds me of amberette seeds, hay and almost powdery, light touched barnyard notes. This musky setting, and the image the fragrance creates overall, reminds me to some extent to Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin.  Maybe the flower in Musk Tonkin is tubereuse as I'm reminded of Miller Harris Noix de Tubereuse when it comes to the integrated, heavy, seamless, indolic flower, musky accord. Musk Tonkin is quite linear in its development, even if  the musk is slightly more prominent in the basenotes, it's still balanced and is not taking over the composition completely. If I would describe Musk Tonkin in one sentence it's: A vegetal musk soliflore.
Picture: Musk Tonkin
Photo by: PR Parfum  d'Empire (c)
Musk Tonkin is sometimes described as an animalic, dirty musk. As I havn't smelled real musk tonkin  can't judge  if this vegetal musky smell is also close to the animalic version. As I remember Serge Lutens Muscs Koublaï Khan it's not as musty, less flowery and with more traces of cumin than Musk Tonkin. It's also more animalic even if a discrete interpretation. For those searching for a hardcore, dirty musk, Les Neréidés Fleur Poudreé de Musc could be recommended, Musk Tonkin and its siblings stand out as shy violets compared to this one.
Musk Tonkin is best for the colder month, especially it's good for cold evenings. Sillage is close and longevity great, for 24h at least. Unisex, leaning to the feminine side.

Those who likes fragrances as Mona di Orio Nuit de Noire and Maison Francis Kurkdijan Absolue Pour Le Soir will probably also like Musk Tonkin.

Rating: 5

Notes: Musk

Thans to Fragrance & Art for the sample of Musk Tonkin Edp to test, the parfume  comes from my own sample

måndag 14 september 2015

Eau d'Italie - Morn to Dusk

Picture: Amor and Psyche, children 
Painting 1890 by
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)

Wikimedia Commons
Morn to Dusk is the latest release from italian nichehouse Eau d'Italie. Morn to Dusk is created by Annick Menardo, the nose behind many sucesses around Y2K for example Dior Hypnotic Poison, Bulgari Black and Lolita Lempicka.As I like Annicks bold style, it's a bit exciting testing a new vanilla from her.

Morn to Dusk starts vanillic, just like fresh baked vanilla bread, right out from the oven. Soon a light, crispy lilylike flowernote appears, similar to an airy lily of the valley. A smooth musky base, not chemical or loud but fluffy like light clouds in the summer sky, anchors the smooth, flowery.vanilla.The fragrance which I'm thinking of when wearing Morn to Dusk is Elie Saab L'Eau Couture  but Morn to Dusk is a smoother and not loud version and without the orangeblossom and characteristic almond of L'Eau Couture. Morn to Dusk is going on like this in a linear and very pleasant drydown and one think this is all. Until in the very late dry down, when I thought the Morn to Dusk had vanished and I suddenly smelled a finetuned oriental, very light gunpowdery, vanillic accord, tinged with the withw flower  but in a deeper and muskier way than before. The fragrance had turned to be almost retro in style in its last phase, something reminding of a smooth and easy version of Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige. The sillage when this beautiful accord appears seems to be wider, and whiffs are diffusing in the room and remaining for some moments in fluffy, angelic clouds.

Morn to Dusk is a very pleasant, straight forward vanilla with floral notes. It's not the thick, boozy vanilla of for example Mona di Orio Les Nombres d'Or Vanille or L'Artisan Parfumeur Havna Vanille (Vanille Absolument), Morn to Dusk is very easy to wear, smooth, angelic, fluffy without no sharp edges. My nine years old daugther just loves Morn to Dusk, with it's soft, vanillic, fluffy, cloudy aura. Thankfully she has'nt approached the Victoria Secrets, which seems to be the regular type of fragrances worn (if/when someone wears something) in her agegroup.
Picture: Morn to Dusk
Photo: PR Eau d'Italie (c)
Morn to Dusk is a very pleasant fragrance when searcing for something cosy but in the same time light and non-offending. It's clean, non-cluttered, seems to be simple in construction and could therefore be misjudged if not worn for several times, taking the time to sniff carefully and evaluating. Morn to Dusk suitable for daytime wear autumn, winter, spring and for grey, rainy summerdays. Sillage is close and longevity for at least a day.

Rating: 5

Notes: Bergamot, freesia, lily of the valley, vanilla, cedarwood, musk

måndag 7 september 2015

Parfum d'Empire - Osmanthus Interdite

Picture: The northwest corner of the Forbidden City, Beijing, China
Photo: Attribution Charlie Fong, (cc), some rights reserved,
Osmanthus Interdite by Parfum d'Empire is a fragrance inspirerd from the scents and overall impressions from the imperial gardens in the Forbidden City in Beijing. Like all the high quality Parfum d'Empire fragrances, Osmanthus Interdite is created by the Parfum d'Empire founder,  IPSICA perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato. The review is made from a sample from the latest edition of Osmanthus Intedite, the version in the new bottledesign.

Osmanthus Interdite is fresh, floral, dry chalky fruity matched with light, white tea notes. There is also some deep, almost dark passages, as shadows from the bushes besids the ponds a sunny afternoon in the palace garden. Smooth and very well balanced accents of the osmanthus flower like soft deep apricot, velvety leather as suede and dry fresh haynotes create a sofisticated, pleasant aura around the wearer. The tea notes are smooth without any harsh edges. In the base of Osmanthus Interdite, a pleasant chalky note steps forward, adding a deeper layer to the fragrance. In texture Osmanthus Interdite reminds me of a feather light, almost transparant cashmere shawl worn over an elegant, white, casual chic outfit. Some how Osmanthus Interdite has a calming and meditative effect, it's a relaxing fragrance to wear. Fragrances with the same relaxing and elegant, white aura that comes to my mind (even if not smelling the same) when wearing Osmanthus Interdite is By Kilian Water Calligraphy, Imperial Tea and Bamboo Harmony as also Dior Homme Cologne 2013 version.
Picture: Osmanthus Interdite, new bottle
Photo: PR Parfum d'Empire (c)
Osmanthus Interdite is quite linear in constuction, with its accords flowing back and forth during the dry down of the fragrance. It's discrete with a close sillage, with good longevity, about a day. It's the perfect office fragrance for spring, summer, early autumn but could be worn in any season. As I remember the previous version in the old bottle, I can't detect any differences, probably there is no reformulation in connection with the switch in bottledesign.

Osmanthus Interdite is the osmanthus fragrance that I've experienced so far and I also think it's one of the best tea fragrances on the market.

Rating: 5

Notes: Osmanthus, green tea, apricot, jasmin, rose, fruit, musk, suede

Thanks to Fragrance & Art for the sample to test

måndag 31 augusti 2015

Carner Barcelona - Palo Santo

Picture: Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens)
Photo by Haplochromis (cc) some rights
reserved, Wikimedia.com 
Palo Santo is the latest creation of Barcelona based perfume house Carner Barcelona. Palo Santo means holy wood, grows in South America, is related to frankincense, myrrh, copal and is burned as incensesticks. Palo Santo in Catalan is also a fruit, persimmons.

I don't know who the perfumer is which has created Palo Santo, anyway the fragrance starts with the comfortable, likable, gourmand, light sweet-spicy accord which characterize the house of Carner. In Palo Santo rum and a sweet, herbal accord, soon complemented with a smoky vetiver opens the fragrance. The opening and to some extent (se below) reminds me of a gentler and smoother version of Parfumerie Générale Querelle. Palo Santo behaves different in the middlenotes in different wearings. The smoky, a bit sweet vetiver is the dominating accord once I wear it, in another wearing the vetiver is gentler and a green, slight herbal, fizzy accord appears and creates an impression of green, burning incense. When Palo Santo reaches the basenotes it becomes sweeter, it's like smoky slight caramelized vetiver. This first stage of the base reminds me of another great Parfumerie Générale creation; Cédre Sandarque but in a lighter and less extreme form. The more Palo Santo dries down in the basenotes, the more vanilla steps forward and it morph to a nice vanilla supported with the smoky vetiver as a contrast.
Picture: Palo Santo
Photo: PR Carner Barcelona (c)
Palo Santo is a good everyday perfume for the colder months, it's a bit too heavy and sweet for summer, except cold, rainy summerevenings. Palo Santo is strong and has to be applied sparingly, if not it becomes almost cloying. The sillage is medium and longevity for more than a day.

As mentioned above, Paolo Santo has a special contemporary gourmand aura typical for the houses fragrances at least from Rima XI and El BornThe sweet, spicy gourmand vibe was not as present in the first three fragrances of the house, D600Tardes and Cuirs. Of the three fragrances of later years, El Born is definitely my favorite not just in smell, I also find it in a better harmony on skin than Palo Santo.

Even if not smelling similar there are some similarities that makes me think that those who like By Kilian Light My Fire  with its sweet vetiver touch also would appreciate Palo Santo.

Rating: 4

Notes: Artemisia, rum, milk, guaiac wood, tonka bean, vetiver, vanilla, sandalwood.

måndag 24 augusti 2015

Eau d'Italie - Acqua Decima

Picture: Acqua Decima, the color of the bottle
describes the juice perfectly.
Photo: PR Eau d'Italie (c)
Acqua Decima is the perfect summerfragrance from Eau d'Italie , dreated by Alberto Morillas. Acqua Decima was launched already 2013 and is the only Ed'I I havn't tested. Until now. The review of the new Morn to Dusk will follow later as vanilla goes well in the autumn.

Acqua Decima is said in the PR to be inspired by the scented notes which could be smelled along The Path of the Gods a mountain walk that links the Amalfi coast with the Bay of Sorrento, through cliffs in the wilderness over a glimmering blue sea. The gold of lemons and mandarins, the warmth of Neroli, the fresh coolness of petitgrain, enlivened by zesty notes of mint leaves.

Acqua Decima starts with a distinctive citrus accord, the mandarine must be the bitter version as there is almost no sweetness in the fragrance, it is of a herbal kind. Soon mint tunes in and takes the centerstage.It's not the chemical thoothpaste mint, this one is fresh and herbal. I can also smell something similar to tomatoleaves and for some moments I smell a modern version of Sisley Eau de Campagne. The herbal, minty accord, is wrapped in the citrusnotes which plays the supporting part after the very first accord.  The fragrance goes on very green, dry and quite linear. The basenotes are light woody green, constituting as the calm background to the sparkling, Sharp, just cutted greenery in the earlier stages. Overall Acqua Decima is edgy and contemporary in style, a member of the new colognes which are not as traditional in structure as the old citrus, light herbal ones. Despite classified as unisex, Acqua Decima to me is quite masculine, it's sharp and has no smothness or sweetness at all. Therefore I can't rate it after my wearing and have to rely on Mr Parfumistas judgement. Some of the other Eau d'Italies have the herbal, outdoorsy, sharpness also, I'm thinking of the original Eau de Italie and Magnolia Romana (worn by me in late spring/summer) both of them have more flowery components which creates a bit smoother, more feminine aura. When Mr Parfumista wears Acqua Decima he also detect a note similar to a lavander in the herbal accord. Overall he find it to be a well constructed fragrance, easy to wear and a fragrance that many people could like. Despite that he founds Acqua Decima a fragrance of much at it's own, there are some similarities to antoher fragrances but not so many. Mr Parfumista smells a hint from the classic cologne Bowling Green from Geoffrey Beene.
Aqua Decima is a genuine daytimefragrance for summer. The sillage is medium and the longevity for almost a day.

Rating: 4

Notes: Lemon, mandarin orange, mint, neroli, petitgrain, white wood, vetiver