måndag 24 oktober 2016

Rania J. - Cuir Andalou

Picture: Ziryab, one of the most famous musicians in Cordoba
 playing the 
oud, a musical instrument similar to a lute.
Poster illustrating  Cuir Andalou from Rania J. (c)
Rania Jouaneh is an independent perfumer with her own house Rania J. which has built a collection of wellcrafted fragrances with a high content of natural ingredients and with an oriental vibe. Rania dosen't rush releasing fragrances but now her new creation, Cuir Andalou dedicated to leather and supported by oud is here.

Cuir Andalou starts with a very dry leathernote and a light, slight fizzy, uplifting, clean dry spicy, slight peppery note I suspect it's the saffron. There's also an oudnote, clean and not smokey as often when combined with leather. The composition is like leather and pepper mixed with crisp, cold and clear high mountain air. Neroli is also present and brings the scent a vision of a garden with orangetrees in the palace of Alhambra. The orange, neroli and other flowery elements changes the apperance from slight chilly to golden and glowing, probably the saffron also contributes  to this impression. When Cuir Andalou dries further down, the well balanced clean oud spicy dry leather dominates but now in the warmer texture. In the basenotes there is also a touch of a animalic note, barely noticeable on my skin and a fine, dry, non smokey sort of embedded in golden nuances, vetiver which is prominent on me. The impression of the basenotes is as the fragrance is grounded in the dry, dusty, glowing Andalusian earth.
Picture: Cuir Andalou
Photo: Rania J. (c)
Cuir Andalou is a real wristsniffer, I catch myself constantly sniffing my wrists constantly during a day of wearing. An addictive experience (I'm craving Cuir Andalou in these grey autumn days). The fragrance is in the same genre as some other spicy/peppery-leathery-oud fragrances but Cuir Andalou is made with a feminine touch. It's not the rough, peppery, smokey variety Cuir Andalou is sort of fine cut with noble traits compared to the archetype of the genre. The sillage is medium+ and longevity great, it's still unfragmented after 12h and unfragmented traces are left after 24h. Suitable for year around, unisex but compared to most representatives of the genre, it's leaning more to the feminine side.

Cuir Andalou reminds me at bit of the dry, spicy texture of Robert Piguet Casbah without the smoke and the incense. As mentioned above it has something in common with leathery ouds in general but it's drier and doesen't contain the smokey note. So even if some similarities, Cuir Andalou is a frag of its own.

Rating: 5

Notes: Leather, rose, iris, neroli, patchouli, saffron, violet, castoreum, vetiver, sandalwood, oud

måndag 17 oktober 2016

Chanel No 5 and its different faces

The most famous fragrance classic, Ernest Beaux's Chanel No 5 is the model for aldehydic perfumes. Since its introduction in perfume concentration 1921 No 5 has appeared in different shapes and formulas. A few weeks ago I worn some of its variations:
Picture: Chanel No 5 EDT
Photo: Chanel (c)
Chanel No 5 EDT: The Edt version of the original perfume was interpreted by Henri Robert in 1952. Before a cologneversion created by Ernest Beaux was launched in the 1930s. The Edt is an austere, balanced, sort of putty-soapy aldehydic fragrance, cold and refined as marble, perfect for formal occasions. A demanding and challenging fragrance, the appearance shifts slightly between wearings, but its overall "stiff upper lip" personality remains the same. A confident personality but as often in such cases, there is some uncertainty about the self-esteem.
Picture: Chanel No 5 EDP
Photo: Chanel (c)
Chanel No 5 EDP: The Edp version was created by  former Chanel inside perfumer Jacques Polge in 1986. Starts with the recognizable No 5 aldehydic accord, soon deepened with a smooth, deep note of sandalwood. Beside the refined sandalwood, jasmine, rose and peach are the protagonists. Chanel No 5 Edp as a whole is the one that differs most from the other versions tested, to me its a wellbehaved, restrained, sort of urban variation of the colorful, vivid sandalwood jasmine Guerlain Samsara. Strangly I also find similarities with a later composition, Miller Harris Noix Tubereuse. The perfect No 5 for autumn and winter.

Picture: Chanel Eau Premiére
(old bottle and the tested version)
Photo: Chanel (c)
Chanel No 5 Eau Premiére: Eau Première was created 2007 by Jacques Polge as a modern take on No 5 Edt. In 2015 Eau Premiére was reformulated and also changed its presentaion to the Chanel squarebottle. I'm testing the original formula in the rectangual bottle. No 5 Edt is clearly recognizable in Eau Premiére, the characteristic aldehydic accord is similar, the fragrance as a whole feels more uncomplicated, warmer and gentler probably because of the emphasize of the neroli, ylang ylang and vanilla notes. It's apperance, like sunny aldehydes, is creating an informal atmosphere. Eau Premiére's personality is well behaved, kind, with a great dose of self-esteem.
Picture: Chanel No 5 L'Eau
Photo: Chanel (c)
Chanel No 5 L'Eau: No 5 L'Eau created by inhouse perfumer Olivier Polge, is Chanels move to convince the young generation to like No 5Airy, watery, with a lighter and higher interpretation of the classical No 5 aldehyde accord, the fruity (lemon, orange, mandarine) and floral (jasmine, neroli, ylang-ylang) notes are bright and clean (not detergent clean) and not embedded in the powdery-putty "just blown out candle" aldehydic notes of No 5 Edt and to a lesser extent No 5 Eau Première. Uplifting, and carefree, versatile to wear, a sort of casual elegance, perfect for any daytime occasion. As this is not a sweet, fruity, floral I doubt this will be a sucess in the yougest group of perfume consumers. No 5 L'Eau will attract those with a discerned taste in any agegroup. In my book this version is already a classic.

My favorite: With no doubt Chanel No 5 L'Eau, together with Galop d'Hermès the best release in 2016 (from the very small fraction I have tested). Followed by No 5 Edt because of its more intriguing dry down compared to Eau Première, which on the other hand I like better as a whole, considered its personality and friendlier apperance.  Last but not least Chanel No 5 Edp which is an elegant perfume but in another style, more dated and not as much No 5 as the other versions.

måndag 10 oktober 2016

5 Top fragrances for fall

Picture: Maple leaves
Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

Autumn is late this year but finally it has arrived with its glowing colors, fresh chilly air and damp/moisty scents. Below some fragrances I like/like to wear this autumn, whether they are autumnal or not:

Bois Blond (Parfumerie Generale): Now when my sample is drained after years of occasionally wearing, I suddenly realized how much I will miss this dry, hayish, woody beauty. It's not the easiest fragrance to come close to and probably too masculine for me....Anyway a bottle is on its way.

Galop d'Hermès (Hermès): No toplist without a Hermès, their fragrances are versatile and suits me perfect for everyday wearing. Galop exceed my expectations with its juicy, rosy, soft leather with a slight sort of clean, animalic touch. It's now my favorite Hermès together with my all time feminine favorite from the house: Amazone.

No 5 L'Eau (Chanel): I have to confess I didn't want to like this as L'Eau is a far longer step away from the distinct super aldehydic original No 5 than No 5 Eau Première. Even if I tried to resist when tested in store, this flowing light flowery beauty with many the notes from No 5 but in different proportions and with a lighter base is a new classic.

Baume du Doge (Eau d'Italie): It's such a well balanced myrrh dominated fragence. Infused with orange, resins  and spices, BdG warns during grey and rainy days. To be worn with a cashmere sweater/shawl.

Baptême du Feu (Serge Lutens): A bit weired but intrguing fragances with light gourmand, citric, incense and smoky notes. The incense in style with the clean note in L'Orpheline, the citric notes cold as metal, the gourmand licour and spice, the smoke from gunpowder and campfires. Intriguing during it's whole dry down.

måndag 3 oktober 2016

Puredistance - Sheiduna

Picture: Perfumer Cécile Zarokian holds
the first sample flacon of Sheiduna Perfume
Photo: Puredistance (c)
Finally it's here Sheiduna, the long awaited release from Puredistance, the first since the beutiful flowery White early in 2015. White was also my "Best of 2015" .This time there is an oriental theme, the first oriental from the brand, in the spicy subcategory. Perfumer is one of the stars of later years, the talented Cécile Zarokian, creator of favorites of mine as Parfums MDCI Nuit Andalouse, Laboratorio Olfattivo Kashnoir, Masque Tango and of course, her breakthrough creation as one of the perfumers of Amouage Epic Woman. Sheiduna is released in pure perfume.

Puredistance tolds us about the inspiration of Sheiduna "With the creation of Sheiduna we wanted to bridge the sensuality from the Orient with the elegance from Paris. Wearing Sheiduna one wafts sensuality and at the same time feels like being wrapped up in a warm, soft blanket. Deep colours of Persian rugs touch the senses".

Sheiduna starts with a burst of a peppery note, maybe it's the clove/incense. Soon this fizzy intro steps back and a beautiful sort of deep, lush citric accord appears grounded in a light rosy touch. The tangerinenote appears very realistic, the best interpreation of tangerine I have smelled so far. A light gunpowdery dry note (as in Mona di Orio Les Nombres d'Or Ambre) also appears as also something soft and eveloping, slight Asian-kitchen-gourmand, green spicy coconutty note, a soft verision of a similar accord in Neela Vermeire Creations Ashoka. This accord is acting as a delightful background also for the rest of Sheidunas drydown. As Sheiduna dries further down, an accord appears dominated by a note of new-laid  vetiver, embedded and sort of glaced in spices and amber/balsamic notes. There is something rooty, green and tart with glimpses of a dry but warm incense, which contrasting the spicy/ambery/balsamic, oriental notes. The gunpowdery element reapperas in the basenotes together with the salty ambery note of ambergris. Blended with other oriental notes, this creates a special, a bit tart, dark, slight orange-y, balsamic, vintage, with a touch of the "old books", smelling accord which maybe is a sort of trademark for Cécile Zarokian as I have smelled it in various degrees in Kashnoir and Tango.A resembling note/accord is also present in Balenciaga Prelude. In the basenotes of Sheiduna I can also smell elements of a deep, soft dark rose.
Picture: The glowing Sheiduna
Photo: Puredistance (c)
When wearing Sheiduna I can understand the Persian inspiration (despite the light Asian-kitchen accord mentioned above), and than not just from the rugs. The fragrance brings forth an impression of spices, dried fruits, dark flowers, the architecture  and most of all the sunset in the desert with the glowing sun over the dunes.

Sheiduna is an intriguing fragrance, the impression shifts with and within each stage of the drydown. Much is going on, like a game where the interaction of the notes/accords quickly turns into contrasts and back again. The fragrance is warm and comforting, perfect for autumn/winter. But the enlighting and contrasting notes doesn't reserve Sheiduna just for the cooler month, the perfume will be a good choice also for humid and warm summer evenings.  The contrasting structure of Sheiduna prevents this contemporary oriental fragrance to become cloying and dense.

Sheiduna is classified as unisex which I agree with even if I think it lends a little bit more to the feminine side. The longevity is very good, traces are left after 24h, sillage is significant.

Rating: 5

Notes: Lemon, tangerine, geranium, rose oil, incense, myrrh, vetiver, patchouli, labdanum, ambergris, benzoin, tonka absolute, vanilla absolute,

måndag 19 september 2016

Ormonde Jayne - Ta'if

Picture: In the Bey's Garden (1865)
Painting by John Frederick Lewais (1805-76)
Wikimedia commons
An Ormonde Jayne Classic, the beautiful oriental rosefragrance Ta'if was created by perfumer Geza Schoen in 2004.

Starts with a burst which smells like green pepper, not pink, mingling with something reminding of a tangy citric note. Soon an slight juicy, pink, rosy note appers, and then the whole accord becomes light creemy after a short while and Ta'if reminds me of a bit sharper, less juicier Le Galion La Rose. As Ta'if developes, the rose interacts with the other flowers, the bright and chilly freesia is prominent to me. Ta'if is more of a boquet than a solar rose fragrance and surprisingly bright and high up on the fragrance note scale to be an oriental fragance. The saffron is playing a supporting role in the background, not at all as prominent as in the standard dark, often oudy, oriental rose fragrance. At one stage in the middlenotes a hint similar to cedar appears which together with a fizzy, peppery note, reminds me of a light and smooth interpretation of Perles de Lalique and also of a more refined, cremy and smooth version of Marni. The datenote provide a moderating dark, fruity component, anchoring the kind of shrill flowers together with the pleasant amber-musky base.

Summed up Ta'if is a pleasant rose in the cold rose category. It's slight watery, but not at all thin, on the contrary it's heavy but in the same time transparant as the air of high humidity up in the mountains. As less sharp and more juicy/creamy than most cold roses, there is hints of warm trails Ta'if in some parts of the dry down. Since Ta'if creation many roses in the same style have emerged, I also comes to think of Burberry Body and Unum Rosa Nigra, and even if Ta'if is not as unique anymore, it has stood the test of time very well and is still a wellcrafted, intriguing fragrance. The longevity is great, traces are left after 24h, and sillage is good. Proper for daytime wearing escpecially for office or formal occasions. Works for year around, exept the coldest months.

Rating: 5

Notes: Pink pepper, saffron, dates, freesia, rose, orange flower, jasmine, broom, amber

Thanks to Fragrance & Art för the sample to test

måndag 12 september 2016

Ormonde Jayne - Vanille d'Iris

Picture: Iris Germanica (Deutsche Schwertlilie)
Drawing by Franz Eugen Köhler, 1897
Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen,
Wikimedia commons
Vanille d'Iris is a 2015 release from Ormonde Jayne created by Geza Schon.

Vanille d'Iris starts with an iris with an light, fresh carrotnote, like from a tin and small carrot "priemeur", harvested in the early summer. After a while Vanille d'Iris becomes more flowery, the carrot disappears as in most irisfragrances which are starting up with the rooty accord which gives an intriguing and sort of fresh, despite the earthy connction, impression for the irisgenre. After a while a non-sweet vanilla shows up and it reminds me of the chalky vanilla of Parfums de Nicolaï Vanille Tonka. The iris as the protagonist among other florals which dominates the heart and reminds me in style of the Le Galion Iris and Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile even if both these fragrances are more lush, flowery and warmer in apperance. Vanille d Iris goes quickly through the flowery phase but iris is also clearly evident in the woody-green accord of the basenotes , reminding me of a contemporary iris-woody classic as Heely Iris de Nuit. The iris in the base is balanced by a clean vetiver as also a barely detectable vanilla, adds an opposing smoothess which, together with a light glowing amber, almost precisely placing Vanille d'Iris just over the border in the feminine iris territory. But Vanille d'Iris is perfectly wearable for men who likes for example Dior Homme where the lipstick texture actually is more feminine in style than the subtle vanilla/amber addition in Vanille d'Iris.The base is also lightly infused with a clean but not powdery or soapy musk which higlights the other notes and makes the fragrance last for long.

Picture: Vanille d'Iris
Photo: PR Ormonde Jayne (c)
Vanille d'Iris is a good, elegant, "basic iris" wearable year around. It doesn't bring anything new to the genre but is well crafted and well worth  sampling if searching for a(nother) basic iris. It's a perfect office fragrance if carfully applied as it's a strong formula which despite its clean character could be overbearing if to much is spritzed, three-four spritzes is the limit. Longevity is very good about 24h, sillage is heavy.

Those who likes irises in general both flowery and woody, will probably also like Vanille d'Iris.

Rating: 4

Notes: Coriander, bergamot, carrot seed, pink pepper, oris, jasmine, magnolia bud oil, osmanthus, vanilla, cedarwood, vetiver, amber, musk

Thanks to Fragrance & Art for the sample to test

måndag 5 september 2016

Une Nuit de Bali - Suma Oriental, Mr Vetyver, Fleur des Fleurs

Une Nuit de Bali is a french fragranceline inspired from the plants, flowers, trees and natural substances of southern Asia.
Picture: Suma Oriental
Photo: PR Une Nuit de Bali (c)
Suma Oriental starts a tad too musky but this accord soon fades out in a bright sandalwoody and in the same time slight boozy accord. Later on Suma Oriental becomes darker, induced from a very well balanced patchouli which is supported by woody note and the sweet, powdery notes of tonkabeen. The light boozy impression remains also in the deeper and darker second part of the fragrance, a phase which is very comforting and long lasting. A good, easy to wear, woody oriental with classical vibes, there is something "Shalimar-ish" over it but not as complicated and without the sweet and animalic notes. Suma Oriental is my favorite in the line

Picture: Mr Vetyver
Photo: PR Une Nuit de Bali (c)
Mr Vetyver is a straight forward, masculine but IMO also unisex fragrance. In its first part Mr Vetyver smells like icecold dry vermuth. The chilly impression contiues when cold spicy notes appears, cardamon is dominating supported by herbal notes. There is also the musky note present in Suma Oriental which is more prominent and present duiring the whole dry down in Mr Vetyver. Maybe this musknote is a part of the house´s baseaccord. Worth to try for those who likes cold, white, boozy fragrances as Penhaligons' Juniper Sling and The Different Company De Bachmanov.

Picture: Picture: Fleur de Fleur
Photo: PR Une Nuit de Bali (c)
Fleur des Fleurs starts watery, like a floral light fruity bubble bath. The fruity notes are soft and airy, with a natural sweetness. There is also warm spicy notes, a light saffron is well blended with the flowesr and fruits. Warm, green notes, like tropical leaves balancing the fruits and flowers in a sunny, comforting and relaxing fragrance which is appropriate both for humid days in summer as to enlight during grey winterdays.Even if not smelling the same, Fleur des Fleurs reminds me of a contemporary interpretation of Balenciaga Michelle.

Thanks to Fragrance & Art for the samples to test