torsdag 18 december 2014

Le Galion - Special for Gentlemen

Picture: Special for Gentlemen
Photo: PR Le Galion (c)
The venerable perfumehouse of the 1930s-1970s  Le Galion, was brought back to life again  in  2014. The golden days of Le Galion started in 1935 when the already then famous perfumer Paul Vacher bought the house and started to create a range of high class perfumes. Vacher is also the nose of iconic Miss Dior and Diorling for Christian Dior. Tomas Fontaine is the perfumer who has reworked the old Le Galions according to current standards. As I haven't tested any vintages, I can't comment on differences/similarities et but the new versions I've tested so far are great. Over to the object of today: Special for Gentlemen originally released 1947 and was created by Parul Vacher himself.

The fragrance starts in a traditional aromatic way with the most beautiful lemon, yellow, sunny and warm. The lemon is of course supported by aromatic, hebal notes, very fine tuned and smooth in their apperance. In this stage Special reminds me of fragrances as Givenchy Gentleman, Geoffrey  Beene Bowling Green  and Chanel Pour Monsieur. Quite contrary to most aromatic fragrances, there is absolutely no harsh or sharp edges as in Special, it's so well blended and seems to be constructed with very high quality ingredients. Among the herbal-spicy notes a smooth cinnamon is most evident and it's recognizable during the rest of the dry down. When the cinnamon appears I'm reminded of Parfums de Nicolaï  Patchouli Homme a very uncommon patchoulifragrance. After a while also balsamic notes appears, deepens the fragrance and wraps the wearer in a comfortable but still very elegant aura. There are also discrete woody-mossy  notes with a touch of something animalic which anchoring Special in the basenotes. Despite the heavy notes, Special is sort of light in texture  with a very clear presence which is never disturbing. In its later stages, Special reminds me of fragrances as Aramis Tuscany (mens version) and there is also something (but much smoother) from the legandary Guerlain Jicky present.

Special is pure elegance, for the versatile gentleman, a timeless fragrance of high class, both in construction, blending and quality of the ingredients. To me, Sean Connery in the character of 007 James Bond, personifies Special for Gentlemen. It could be worn in many (non-sporting) occasions and Special is demanding in another way: Wearing it always requires a proper outfit for the said occassion, as the whole image of the wearer has to be complete. Special is indeed a very masculine fragrance but the smoothness and balsamic structure oddly enough also make it (almost) wearable for a women.

Special is definitly a must try for those in search for a classical aromatic fragrance. Personally, after trying this, I can't remember me or Mr Parfumista have tried anything better among classical aromatics. Top notch and the best masculine fragrance tested since M.Micallef Royal Vintage spring 2013.

Rating: 5

Notes: Bergamot, citron, lavender, cinnamon, amber, labdanum, oakmoss, patchouli, vanilla, castoreum, birch, opoponax

Thanks to Fragrance & Art for the (already drained :-( ) sample to try

måndag 15 december 2014

Oriza L.Legrand - Violette du Czar

Picture: Violette du Czar
Photo: PR Oriza L.Legrand (c)
Violette du Czar is another re-construction of an old formula from the early 20th century released by venerable perfumehouse Oriza L.Legrand, a which was brought back to business a few years ago.

Violette du Czar starts with a true smell of violet, not artifical, candy sweet, but fresh and natural, as the newly sprung flower in the moisty soil a sunny early day in spring. The violet in this stage reminds me of the violet in Annick Goutal La Violette but without any sweetness. After a while the violetnote steps backwards and the smell of hay contrasted with some light stablenotes appears. In this stage one almost belive the violet has surrendered but soon it steps forward once again together with a flowery irisnote, similar but not quite as vivid to the one in Le Galion Iris. There is also a tangy oldschool soapy Accord,as if there are som citric notes as bergamot present. The soap is very light handed, it's just a touch. The basenotes is balsamic, light woody and with a transparent leathernote, like elegant, long, cream-colored glace gloves accompanying a ball gown. There is something in the overall impression in the this stage thar reminds me of Ramón Monegal Impossible Iris even if the latter is sort of denser and stronger in apperance. When it comes to the transparancy and overall impression of the fragrance, it reminds me of  the texure of Jardins d'Ecrivains La Dame aux Camélias whereas the violet is more present in Violette du Czar, in La Dame... the violet is not as prominent, the orangeblossom is the more distinct flower in the latter.

 Violette du Czar is transparent and light fragrance, the notes  (even the dirty one) are carefully handled and there is a compoistion in the higher octaves of the fragrance notescale. It's refreshing and a perfect elegant daytime fragrance particularly for spring but it's suitable for all seasons when one want something light, refreshing and natural smelling, there is no chemical vibes in this Beautiful fragrance. As Violette du Czar is light it demands generous application. The silage is somewhere betweeen close to medim and longevity for about a day.

Rating: 4
Notes: Violetleaf, violet, violet, iris, heliotrope, tolu balm, russian leather, amber, guaiacwood

torsdag 11 december 2014

Fragranceshopping for Christmas (and beyond) 2014

Picture: Julaftonen/Christmas Eve 1904
Watercolor by Carl Larsson (1853-1919)
Wikimedia commons
Soon Christmas is here and hopefully there is some time for perfumetesting during the holidays. Here comes some inspiration when it comes to perfumeshopping not just for the holidays but most of all also in the long term.
  • Just as last year: First of all I'll recommend the beautiful perfumes I have tested and reviewed this year. Remember: All are good regardless rating. The rating reflects my personal impression when testing the fragrance, my 3 rated could be your 5.
  • From the perfumes reviewed so far 2014, I'm when thinking back most found of: Maison Francis Kurkdjian Féminin Pluriel an eternal beauty, My Burberry from Burberry, a contemporary, urban interpretation of the same theme as Féminin Pluriel. Boucheron Place Vendôme Edp is another mainstream fragrance which, just as My Burberry made an unexpectedly positive impression. Parfumerie Générale Isparta a transparent, purple rose which I think havn't got as much attention as it should have in the blogosphere, Rose Ishtar an intriguing and  unconventional, herbal non-sweet rose, Eau d'Italie Un Bateau pour Capri  contemporary but in the same time retro. When into roses, I'm a roselover after all, Rozy Voile d'Extrait is a beautiful dark, balsamic rose. Another good balsamic fragrance, with winey and myrrh-incense notes which I discovered this year is Olivier Durbano Lapis Philosophorum. The fleeting jasmine-tea of By Kilian Imperial Tea  is another nice finding from 2014 in the lighter fragdivision and so is the new first non-Mona from Mona di Orio, the somehow refreshing and calming Myrrh Casati.
  • Lately I've discovered two very good houses, new to my nose, the revived house of  Le Galion and the since many years established Maison Nicolas de Barry. This findings thanks to the sample service from Fragrance & Art, IMO the best retailer in Sweden when it comes to carry a well compsed varity of nichefragrances, many of them very rare. Reviews of fragrances from these lines will start with one from each line before Christmas and further reviewing is planned to the first half of 2015.
  • Samples from one of my favorite houses, Oriza L.Legrand just arrived, in a lovely little green retrobox with a motif on the lid inspired from the 1910s. I'll review one of the new ones before Christmas and the other are planned to follow in 2015. Sniffing outside the untested vials, my impression is I'll not be dissapointed. A great Christmas gift is the Oriza sampleset with 7x2ml spray vials of choice for EUR 20.
  • Another perfume grabbing my attention at the moment (reviewed early in 2013) is the beautiful cold incense, lily, fir Relique D'Amour from the above mentioned Oriza L.Legrand. The more I try it, the more I like it and now I've drained my first sample and have just one sample left.... A perfume for those who like L'Artisan Passage d'Enfer this is great stuff.
  • When it comes to repacking, last year Parfums Annick Goutal was the issue here in the "shopping for Christmas post". This year it's Parfum d'Empire which has changed the bottle design and of course, raised the price. But there are still bargins avaible, Fragrance & Art have some in the old bottle left.
  • As a sidenote about the before mentioned Annick Goutal at least one of the discontinued gems soon was brought back in the assortment, but I don't know if it depends of the customer compliants or not. In the new bottle of course and I don't know if the formula has changed: Mon Parfum Cheri, par Camillethe best Goutal so far IMO. The Edp-version of  Un Matin d'Orage Edp launched in 2014 is also a very good perfume.
  • A package of samples is an intriguing Christmas gift to most people. If you don't have the time and patience to decant yourself, Fragrance & Art and Riktig Parfym could support.

måndag 8 december 2014

Mona di Orio - Myrrh Casati

Picture: Marchesa Luisa Casati, (1881-1957)
Painting  1908 by Giovanni Boldino (1842-1931)
Wikimedia commons
Myrrh Casati is the first fragrance from nichehouse Mona di Orio created by another perfumer than Mona. After Monas untimely death in December 2011, the fragrances that was in line for release Rose Etoile de Hollande and Eau Absolue or the personal fragrance for Monas business partner Jeroen Oude Sogtoen Violette Fumeé, were launched. This difficult mission to compose the first non-Mona fragrance for the house of di Orio was given to perfumer Melanie Leroux. The new perfumes are launched in a subline called the Monogram Collection which also introduce new bottles and a new logotype for the Mona di Orio brand.

Myrrh Casati is inspired of the very wealthy eccentric italian early 20th century active Marchesa Luisa Casati, a musa for fashion and art. Myrrh is a timeless, dramatic and mysterious ingredient with ancient origins and therfore also maybe a tad eccentric.

Myrrh Casati starts transparent and in the higher octaves of the scale, a similar context as Serge Lutens beautiful La Myrrhe but with a slight spicy, smoky almost leathery addition. La Myrrhe is more of a pure myrrh perfume with the pronounced refreshing mushroomnote which lasts for a considerable time of the dry down, in Myrrh Casati the mushroomnotes last just for a while. In the middlenotes the licorice contribute to a sweet contrast to the very dry myrrhinterpretation of Myrrh Casati. There is also a smell of fresh loam and a quick glimpse of a drak green moisy moss and a quick passing note similar to pine needles. The licorienote is very well balanced and not as prominent as in Guerlain Myrrhe et Delires or Huiteme Art Myrrhiad. In the basenotes Myrrh Casati is deeper and the myrrh is surrounded by perfectly balanced spices, the cardamom and saffron are note detectable as separte notes, as also not the incense and patchouli. Everything is somehow perfectly balanced, restrained, elegant and wellbehaved.

Picture: Myrrh Casati in the new Mona di Orio flacon
Photo: PR Parfums Mona di Orio (c)
To me Myrrh Casati is calming and soothing, not recalling one of the Marchesas wild parties. The darker, denser and heavier Huiteme Art Myrrhiad would be more suitable in this context IMO. Insted it's recalling the same as Serge Lutens La Myrrhe a medival stonechapel, cold a bit moisty and mossy stone, with traces of the smell of balmy incense, myrrh and soft spices in the air.

Even if not original or not particularly distinctive from the other myrrhs mentioned in the post, the soothing and in the same time elegant qualities makes Myrrh Casati very attractive and wearable for many occasions year around. It's undoubtedly appropriate in style to join the perfumes created by Mona. Sillage is close and longevity over night. Not that I'm a specialist in perfume construction but to me, Myrrh Casati is better balanced then both Myrrhe et Delires and Myrrhiad. Finally I perceive it Myrrh Casati as a more restrained alternative to La Myrrhe.

Rating: 5

Notes: Red berries, pink pepper, cardamom, saffron, licorice, benzoin, myrrh, incense, patchouli, nagarmotha, guaiac wood

torsdag 4 december 2014

Coquillete - Tudor

Picture: Elisabeth of York, (1465-1503)
queen consort of England
Paining from ca 1500, unkonwn painter
Wikimedia commons
Tudor is said to be the last installment in the fragrance journey of french nichehouse Coquillete. There is no perfumer mentioned for Tudor.

Tudor starts with a pink,velvet rose carried by a fully ripe lemon, which create a fresh, fruity but not too sweet vibe of the fragrance. There are absolutely no harsh or sharp edges either from the lemon or from the rose. The rose smell  is the fresh petals, without the green leaves, steam and thorns.  One can imagine a noble lady relaxing a sunny, early summer day outside a heavy medival castle relieved that the "cousins war" or as we call it today, the war of roses was finally over.

As Tudor reach the middle, the rose and other notes mingles in a beautiful, creamy texture, smelling almost like the smooth rose-nailcream  (don't remember its name)   which my mother used decades ago and also told me that  her grandmother used. Going further in the drydown, Tudor suddenly becomes slight spicy and the pink velvet darkens. There are also earthy qualities apperaing, just as the moisty loam of the forestfloor  heated up by the warm sun contrasting the early summerlight and delicate green of the grass, bushes and  threes. In the basenotes Tudor continues in the light spicy, creamy style and also gets deeper and more balsamic in texture. There is a touch of amber added with light vanilla notes that together with the rest, creates a strange sort of  dark putty lipstick-accord, almost touching a smooth, dark leathery element. In this part there is someting (the dark lipstick) that reminds me of a pale version of the beautiful Rozy Edp from Vero Kern, part of the basenotes of that fragrance seems to be present also in Tudor. There is also a dark, slight herbal, medical note contrasting in the base, in this fragrance darker and ticker than in the archetype of medical roses, Parfume d'Empire Eau Suave. In the overoll context of the basenotes there is also something that reminds me of a feminie interpreatation of Frapin Nevermore, which I experience as a masculine rose. Tudor is, just like Nevermore, classified as unisex but to me it's much more feminine in style, for those who cares of genderclassifications. The longer Tudor dries down in the base the more sweet (like a deep dark frutiy retro candy note) but also, unfortunately, also indistinct and plain it becomes. The top-, middle- and early basenotes is the best and interesting parts of Tudor, in the second part of the basenotes nothing happens.
Picture: Tudor
Photo: PR Coquillete (c)
Taken as a whole, Tudor despite its shortcoming (compared to the earlier stages) in the late dry down, is an intriguing rose fragrance, developing from a innocent, creamy, pink and sunny rose to a darker variation with some not so innocent nuances. The fragrance  may actually serve as an olfactory portrait of the first Tudor queen, Elisabeth the Princess of York (the White rose) married to the Tudor (Lancaster the red rose) Henry, who bacame king Henry VII as the outcome of the civilwar and both parents to Henry VIII. Without any sharp edges and with its sort of retro sweetness, Tudor smells timeless and sort of mysterious natural, like a recipe of a brew  preserved since the days of the Tudors.

Tudor is suitable to wear year around, for any (non-sport) occasions. Sillage is medium and longevity for a day. This intriguing and timeless perfume also causing compliments to the wearer.

Rating: 3

Notes: Rose, geranium, lily of the valley, amber, benzoin, soil, rosewood, labdanum, benzoin, grey amber, vanilla

Thanks to Fragrance & Art for the sample of Tudor

måndag 1 december 2014

Naomi Goodsir - Or du Serail

Picture: The Reception (1873)
Painting by John Frederick Lewis (1805-1875)
Wikipedia commons
Or du Serail is the third fragrance in the perfumelinfe of australian fashiondesigner Naomi Goodsir. Or du Serail is created by the famous nose Bertrand Duchaufour.

Or du Serail starts with a wonderful blast of balsamic, resin notes, supported by cocos and  pickled fruits in boozy, rum-liqueur. This accord are present during the whole dry down but in different strengths in different parts of the fragrance. Soon a balancing almost aromatic note appears and adding some slight spritzy green texture to the fragrance. Combined with the other notes, an accord similar to the smell of almondcake appears for a while. I recognize this accord from Carner Barcelona Rima XI. Then Or du Serail goes on in a darker, fruity-rum phase, with some hardwood, the fizzy herbal green still present but more subdued. In this stege there is something that reminds me of a less spicier Frapin Caravelle Epicée with its woody rum and warmth crossed with  the dark, boosy, woody fruits of Parfum DelRae Bois de Paradise. In the basenotes a light gunpowdernote also appears balancing the boozy fruit, the resins and balsams with some dryness. In the late basenotes, the fruits somehow gets more noticeable again and has a slight flowery twist.
Picture: Or du Serail
Photo: PR Naomi Goodsir (c)
I can think of Or du Serail as suitable as a daytime perfume in the harem as I imagine heavier and much darker elixirs  was used for the night. For most of the public in todays Western World, Or du Serail is sufficiently full and exotic for evening wear, even if Parfumistas easily wears it for daytime during autumn and winter. Or du Serail will be the perfect fragrance for the coming Christmas holidays, despite celebrating at home/away or working. It's a unisex fragrance but IMO it lends a bit more to the feminine side. The sillage is medium and longevity for 24h.

Or du Serail is another oriental-fouerge I have tested lately. It seems as a genre with rising popularity at the moment, see also my reviews of By Kilian Intoxicated and Light My Fire. The aromatic notes in those fragrances makes them lighter, less sweet and probably attract a broder group of potential customer then the classical heavy orientels.

Rating: 4

Notes: Apple, red berries, mango, sweet orange, rum, artemisia, sage, coconut, geranium, ylang-ylang, mate, labdanum, beeswax, honey, tobacco, amber, oak tree, cedar, musk, vanilla

Thanks for Fragrance & Art for the sample to try

måndag 24 november 2014

By Kilian - Intoxicated

Picture: In Cafe at Hotel Sacher, Wien
Photo: Deror avi (cc) Wikimedia commons,
some rights reserved
Intoxicated is the third tested fragrance in the new By Kilian subline Addicted State of Mind. The fragrance is created by the almost By Kilian inhouse nose Calice Becker.

Opens delicious with something which smells as a very dry lavendel note combined with coffe, cream and cardamom. Instantly the coffe-cream-lavendel  Belle en Rykiel  from Sonia Rykiel  comes to my mind but Belle is sweeter and more gourmand in style, Intoxicated is like an ariy, subtle version. After a while Intoxicated moves a step further compared with Belle and Intoxicated  is further warmed up with more light, sort of airy interpreted spices with an offsetting fizzy accord/note which is present from now on.

During the whole drydown, Intoxicated seems to be injected with some special almost fizzy aromatic notes but  the notes are not of the full herbal quality. Instead the impression is as some parts of some aromatic notes have been separated and then mixed to a new version of an aromatic note. Anyway, that note or accord  perfectly counterbalances  the sweetness from coffe,cream and the warmth of the spices.
Finally, in  the basenotes, Intoxicated ends up in a  pleasant mix of fresh cardamon in a caffe latte, suported by the rest of  the spices. very cozy and awesome to wear a grey, rainy autumnday. There is also the  fizzy, woody quality  (described above) in the base that brightens it up and avoid that Intoxicated ends up too dense and sweet which is always a risk with "café-inspired" fragrances. There are also traces of something dark, similar to patchouli.

Intoxicated is IMO the stand out (at least when it comes to what's pleasant for me to wear, when it comes to originality Smoke for the Soul takes the prize) in the Addicted State of Mind-trio. Wearing this well balanced blend gives the image of visitning a cosily café and stay there for hours a gloomy autumn afternoon. It's a pleasure to wear, makes the wearer happy and it is suitable for daytime wear during the cold season. The sillage is close, and there is overnight longevity. Even if not a groundbreaking composition Intoxicated is so delicious, nice to wear and comfortable that it deserves:

Rating: 5

Notes: Cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, coffee