måndag 31 december 2012

The perfumed year 2012

Photo:Mr Parfumista (c)

Here we are again, another year has just accelerated away and unfortunately I think of 2012 as a year with much horror and fear in the world. But in the little world, the 2012 in Perfumeland, I think 2012 was a good year with many good releases and new findings when it comes to perfumes that suits me anyway. 2012 to me was above all two great perfumehouses:

* I became familiar with the great, high-quality perfumeline of Ramón Monegal, the spanish answer to Patricia de Nicolaï. Patricia a descendant to the Guerlains and Ramón a descendant to the Guerlains of Spain, the house of Myrurgia, both perfumers genuinely educated in the art & craft of perfumery and both starting their own perfume houses, free to create after their own ideas & noses. The Ramón Monegal line contains almost all variations of perfumery, and all with a personal twist. This line is a complete perfumewardrobe :-) and I'm really looking forward to additional creations during the coming years, I'm missing testing a new RM every second week :-). Luckily I have two more from the line internationally realeased 2012 to review that I have saved for 2013: Agar Musk and Cherry Musk. I'm also thrilled to test the special 2012 Christmas/New Years blend, a perfume that captures the essences of Ramón Monegals beautiful hometown Barcelona.

* I also finally get the beautiful perfumes of Puredistance and the launch of 2012, the classical styled Opardu was also my best fragrance of the year. The Puredistance is a sort of a perfumebrandbuildingconcept by the perfumeinterested, brandbuildingprofessional Jan Ewoud Vos. The house uses hired, well-known perfumers, Annie Buzantain for the female perfumes, IAntonia and Opardu and Roja Dove for the masculine one, M. The concept seems to be very successful as the emotions conveyed are intimate, familiar, timeless understated elegance of high quality as if Puredistance already is classic house. The feeling of brandbuilding never occurs as in the case of the total contrast to Puredistance, the tiresome, so obvious brandbuildingconcept Byredo, oriented to anxious thirty-something urbanites.

As for the new perfumeyear 2013 I hope that the new EU legislation/self regulation of the industry (per 1/7) will not hit as hard as one can read from different initiated source; ie that many of the classics will not be recognizable anymore and that many fragrancehouses have to redo a great part of their fragranceportfolios. Therefore Dior with its critizised renaming of  the Miss Dior Cherie to the classical Miss Dior name probably has been in the forefront, they save the name and fill it with a content that will be compliant even after the new regulations becomes effective.

lördag 29 december 2012

Best of 2012

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

When it comes to perfumereleases 2012 was a good year bringing some beautiful stuff to us Parfumistas.
Here are my top ten from what I have sampled of the 2012:s in no particular order:

Nuit Etoilée (Annick Goutal): NE was a growing liking for me, it unfolds it's full beauty in the summerheat.
Urban, woody-herbal to me.

Impossible Iris (Ramon Monegal): Probably this was released before 2012 but as the exceptional Ramon Monagal line was launched internationally this year I include it. An elegant iris that is amplified by a light berrynote and contrasting flowers. A harmonious blend.

Ivoire (Balmain): What a sucessful reformulation! I like this fruity and sparkling version even better than the stricter original galbanum-accentuated Edt which is a great classic.

Opardu (Puredistance) Dreamy, elegant, powdery lilac that captures the spirit of the Paul Poiret fashion of the 1910s. Already a classic in my book.

Chypre Palatin (Parfums MDCI): Retrostyled with the dry gunpowdernote that I appreciate so much. And some slight animalic notes lurking in the background.

Poudre de Riz (Huiteme Art): Boozy notes and subdued tropical flowers in a dry powdery context creates an elegant, retrostyled fragance.

Songe d'un Bois d'Ete (Guerlain): This wellbalanced spicy, leather, oud with a intricate note of jasmine and cardamom is my favourite of the Les Deserts de Orient trio. At the moment at least, Rose Nacree du Desert comes close and could take over some day.

Dama Bianca (XerJoff): Wellbalanced white flowers contrasted by a wheat-malt note over a beautiful base of vanilla. The elegant comfortscent of the year.

Oud Stars Al-Khatt (XerJoff): Elegant, creamy, white flowers with jasmine as mainplayer, interacting with a beautiful laotian oud. As Ubar in an oud-interpretation.

Rose Etoile de Hollande (Mona di Orio): A soft, dark, velvety, resiny, medium pink rose, retro in style. The last creation of Mona, named to her honour by her businesspartner Jeroen Oude Sogetoen.

Vero Kerns beautiful chypre Mito, the leather/tobacco Speakeasy (Frapin), the woody-spicy Bois Noir (Robert Piguet) and the Neela Vermeire Creations trio Bombay Bling, Trayeé and  Mohur should also be mentioned among the best of 2012.

If I had to choose just ONE it would be Opardu for its timeless features and its appearance. It's almost as I'm sniffing a classical floral-powdery Guerlain or even a classical Chanel in the style of No 22.

onsdag 26 december 2012

Vero Profumo - Kiki Extrait

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

Kiki Extrait from swiss perfumer Vero Kern is, together with Kiki Edp, the most original lavendeldominated perfume I have experienced so far. Kiki Extrait is'nt just an artful, a bit quirky creation, it's a creation of high quality materials (as my amateurnose understand it) and it is exceptionally beautiful.

Kiki Extrait starts with a very natural lavendernote, like the scent from fields of lavender in bloom, carried by a warm summerbreeze. The initial lavender is almost crisp and resting on some light green notes, there is no dusky and sultry nuances of the lavender that is present in some lavender perfumes. As Kiki Extrait dries down, interesting things happening: The lavender steps a bit in the background, but is still there during the whole dry down, gets darker and an velvety facett evolves, that gives Kiki Extrait a texture of a medium, lavender colored high quality silkvelvet. There are also traces of an attractive, chalky note and after a while Kiki Extrait takes another, additional, interesting twist: An accord that reminds me of the notes of wheat and beer occurs, the fragrance oscilliate between the fresh wheaten note and the fermented, tangy beernote. There is also an earthy accord lurking in the basenotes, and the longer Kiki Extrait dries down, the more the passionfruit comes forward. The wheat/beer twist is an unexpected and very successful contrast in the fragrance, that provides substance to the frag and maintains the interest for Kiki Extrait during it's whole dry down. Kiki Extrait is an example of a true nichefragrance, a piece of art where  pleasing the "nichecrowd" is  not the obvious motive.

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

Compared Kiki Extrait to Kiki Edp, the Edp is more of a comfort, almost gourmand, fragrance with it's dark patchoulinote and sweet, much more pronunced, passionfruit contrasting the lavender. Kiki Edp is the Angel of lavender IMHO. Both Kiki Extrait and Kiki Edp are must haves, well worth owning as they are different fragrances, sharing a common lavender theme. To sum the impressions up: The Extrait smells somehow quirky-elegant and the Edp quirky-comforting.

Kiki Extrait could be worn in any occasion. It is subtle and creates a pleasant aura around the wearer. Just as Kiki Edp, the extrait is suitable in winter but as not as sweet as of the Edp, Kiki Extrait could be worn also in the summer. Sillage is medium and longevity 12h+.

Rating: 5

Notes: Bergamot, citron, blackcurrant, passionfruit, lavender, geranium, musk, patchouli, oponax, amber, caramel

måndag 24 december 2012

An unscented Christmas ...

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

I wish all readers of this blog a Merry Christmas!
This Christmas Eve will be unscented or at least almost, maybe a few spritzes of a light citrus cologne will be refreshing/tolerable. This as I'm going through the worst flu that has struck me in 10+ years and even if I'm feeling better, thinking of perfume is still too much. The perfume that I intended to wear is Amouage Beloved. I have not even sniffed at the sample I received last summer as I knew at once that I wanted to save it for Christmas Eve. If I'm fit for (perfume)fight to New Years Eve I'll will probably test it then instead. Review will of course follow.
Anyway, in the meantime: I've scheduled reviews of  some very interesting/beautiful perfumes for some of the coming days.

Happy Holidays to All!

lördag 22 december 2012

The spirit of Puredistance...

Just wan't to share the Christmas Greetings from one of my top favourite houses, Puredistance. I think this personal and informative "Christmas Card" perfectly catches the intimite aura of the Puredistance fragrances.
Unfortunately I have not managed to transform the pictures into a proper size so one have to use a magnifier to read :-)  Anyway, the Christmas Card tells about the 2012 launching of the brand in some more exclusive perfumestores, the introduction of the Chinese market and the launch of the new perfume Opardu. News for 2013 are that 2 ml spraysamples (already in E-shop it seems as) and a 60 ml bottle will be introduced  (until now 17,5 and 100 ml avaible in bottlesizes)

Picture: Puredistance (c), all rights reserved

torsdag 20 december 2012

Robert Piguet - Oud

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)
Oud by Robert Piguet is, as all five fragrances in the Nouvelle Collection, created by the Piguet housenose Aurelien Guichard

Oud starts with an almost animalic note accuented by the dry leather smell of antique books. Soon the the animalic touch disappears and soft leather, minty herbals and a green, woody notes takes the center of the stage. The pepper typical for the syntetic oud also appears but in a very balanced way, not overwhelming, at all, just a gentle touch. As Oud is a linear fragrance, it also continues like described during the whole dry down. Comfortable and pleasant. To my nose the topnotes is the most interesting part of Oud and I wish the initial animalic touch would be present also in the basenotes. To me Oud is somehow the Oud of the cold north. When I smell it, I can imagine the snowy, coniferous forests of the Nordic countries in the middle of a hard winter.

Oud doesn’t follow the most common rose-saffran-oud path, instead it follows the alternative track the colder, leather, herbal, oud. The latter is, to western standards, more masculine than the former oudstructure, which is a masculien one in the Middle East. Oud is a versatile and good everyday oud, not extreme in any sense and a good “beginners oud”. Oud is the oud-herbal-leather equivalent to the everyday rose-saffron-oud Juliette Has A Gun Midnight Oud, which also is a good and wearable “beginners oud”. Sillage is quite impressing and longevity is for 24h.

Oud was the fragrance within the Nouvelle Collection that I had highest expectations about before I started sampling. Despite Oud is a well made, balanced, comfortable and very wearable fragrance, it turned out to be the one that moved me at least. Maybe it’s just too perfect and to me BoisNoir is a notch more interesting when comparing the two Robert Piguet woods in the Nouvelle Collection.

Rating: 4 (Dec 2012) 4+ (April 2013)

Notes: Saffron, fir balsam, styrax, myrrh, woody notes, oud, patchouli

Update April 2013: Probably my testingexperience of RP Oud in December was affected by the outbreak of the worst flu I have had in 10+ years  just a few days later. Now I feel it's nuances better and i doubt it's a beginners oud any more. The animalic notes are for example still present in the basenotes, blended with the cold confierstyled woody smell and the oud that feels somehow cold in this creation.  There is also an almost leathery/metallic accord that reminds me of a sort of darker interpretation of the great Frapin Speakeasy.

måndag 17 december 2012

Robert Piguet - Casbah

Picture: Kasbahs in Aït Benhaddou, southern Morocco
Photo: Donar Reiskoffer (cc) Wikkimedia Commons, some rights reserved

Casbah is an oriental spicy perfume, dominated by incense, created by Aurelien Guichard for Robert Piguet
as a part of the Nouvelle Collection.

Casbah starts with an accord that reminds me of grated orange peel that has absorbed a spicy mix dominated by incense. As there is no orange peel in the note description, I guess there is a note that emerges from the incense combined with some other note/notes. Because incense is the most dominating note in this well balanced fragrance. The incense is there together with the orangepeel and spicy smell troughout the whole composition. The cedar and the vetiver of the base is detectable in the later stages of Casbah and adds an almost tart aspect to this composition that overall seems to be a linear fragrance in construction.

To me Casbah is most of all an incensefragence that is embedded by spices and tobbacco which makes the incensenote rounder and smoother, in some stages almost balmy. Casbah evokes the picture of an oriental spice market to me or maybe the smells from inside the casbah, from the kitchen and from the Hammmam. But there is also, an in this context strange trace of catholisism in the fragrance, as I think the incense in Casbah is like a gentler version of the note as presented in Commes de Garcons Avignon. There are also similarities with Montales Full Incense but the latter has more of resin-ambery notes where Casbah has its spices instead.

Even if note the most imigative incensefregrance on the market, Casbah is a very wellconstructed, wellblended incense fragrance of high quality that causes compliments from surrounding people. It's definitly easier to wear than Avignon but it's no less characterful. The blend is very powerful and has to be applied with caution. The sillage is medium and the longevity is 24h+. Casbah is the perfect fragrance for the cold and dark winter and will be the perfect match for Christmas, drinking mulled wine in front of a fireplace with icy winds wining outside the doorstep.

Rating: 5

Notes:  Angelica, nutmeg, pepper, iris, incense, tobacco, vetiver, cedar

fredag 14 december 2012

Frapin - Caravelle Epicée

Picture: The Noord-Nieuwland in Table Bay, 1762, oil on canvas
by anonymous artist, Cape Town, South Africa
Caravelle Epicée is a fragance that I tried some years ago and liked very much but than went on sampling other frags and havn’t come to test it again than recently. And I have to say that like this beautiful spicy creation at least as much this time. Caravelle Epicée is a unisexfragrance in my book and its created for the perfumehouse of Frapin, not for the beveragesdivision J by Jeanne-Marie Faugier.

Caravelle Epicée starts with a gentle, very true, spicy accord. I can smell different shades of pepper, cummin, saffron, nutmeg and other spices in a wellblended mix where the spices are interacting and none is dominating over the rest. The accord is in the same time soft in character. After a while CE:s spicyness becomes creamy in texture, there are also woody notes which balances the spices. There are also notes of dry coconut, as the smell from the coconut shell from a unopend nut. When Caravelle Epicée reaches the basenotes there is a slight sweet woody note, putty in character, probably from sandalwood. In this stage, Caravelle Epicée reminds me of an unsweet Bois de Paradis by Parfum DelRae, without the sweetened berry and plummy notes of the latter. There is also smilarities with the basenotes of Yves Saint Laurent NU Edp and also something similar to the base of Donna Karan Black Cashmere. Caravelle Epicée has a dark, rich and vevety dept in the basenotes that triggers the imagination. Caravelle Epicée mediates something vintage. Not exactly a vintage smelling perfume but the images of times that have gone. More exactly the image of an elegant lady from the Jugendera (Art Noveau) dressed for the winter season in silkvelvet in muted colors and fur. Or the image an old sailingship “Caravelle” carrying the valuable spices over the oceans on the old spice route.

Caravelle Epicée is one of the best spicy fragrances I have tried, if not the best. It’s wellcrafted and balanced, comfortable, feels very natural, as the percieved notes where the real spices and wood. Caravelle Epicée is a fragrance which creates images and makes the wearer daydreaming of sailing ships carrying its precious cargo over the oceans or about elegant art noveau ladies. There is something in the overall impresson that reminds me of a sort of soft Opium by Yves Saint Laurent but with much more spices and without carantion and cloves. Also Idole by Lubin comes to my mind but that one is airier and somehow lighter, more of a sommer spicy fragrance.

As indicated above, Caravelle Epicée is perfect for winter, and espceially as a Christmas fragrance, with its delicious, spicy apperance. Sillage is close and longevity good, for a day at least.

Rating: 5

Notes: Nutmeg, coriander; chili pepper, pepper, caraway, guaiac wood, sandalwood, amber, patchouli, tobacco.

onsdag 12 december 2012

Ramón Monegal - Ambra di Luna

Picture: Mondaufgang am Meer (Moonrise over the sea)
oil on canvas, 1822 by Caspar David Friedrich
Ambra di Luna is a true oriental (amber) fragrance from the excellent Barcelonean perfumehouse Ramon Monegal. As all the perfumes of the house, Ambra di Luna is created by the founder and owner Ramon Monegal a perfumer with more than thirty years experience from creating perfumes.

Ambra di Luna starts with an accord that resembles the dry, paperlike, amber note in Trouble by Boucheron.After a while Ambra di Luna gets sweeter and the furry, animalic note that have been taken to an extreme (in a very positive way) in one of my all time favourite ambers L’Ombre Fauve by Parfumerie Générale, is lurking in the background. This dark, dirty note is balancing the sweetness. After a while also a decadent, on the verge of withering, jasminenote comes forward and togheter with the furry note and amber it creates an almost vintage part of the fragarance.

As it dries in the later stages an accord emerges which is similar to the bubblegum, amber accord in the sweet, contemporary amber, Jean Paul Gaultier 2 but in Ambra di Luna the pink bubblegum is just an accent in the ambery accord and not at all as strong and sweet as in JPG2. There is also a slight leathery impression when indulging the basenotes.

Ambra di Luna has both classical, almost old fashioned phases, combined by contemporary, in the topnotes and in the early basenotes with the light bubblegum amber. As always with the Ramon Monegal perfumes, an interesting blend where the wearer could expect interesting twists during the whole dry down. Overall Ambra di Luna conveys the atmosphere that is present in music and paintings from the romantic era in the 19th century.

Ambra di Luna is not as powerful as most of the Ramón Monegal fragrances, but lasts more than a day anyway. The style is subdued, close to the skin, amber-animalic-resin-powder and Ambra di Luna is most distinctive to the wearer her/himself. This is a fragrance for the colder months, suitable both for daytime and eveningwear. On the unisexscale I think Ambra di Luna is a bit more feminine. Ambra di Luna is a must try for amber lovers!
Rating: 4

Notes: Amber, labdanum, jasmine, castoreum, sandalwood

måndag 10 december 2012

Carner Barcelona - Rima XI

Picture: Meadow Elves (Ängsälvor), oil on canvas
by Nils Blommér 1850
Rima XI is a transparant spicy, floral, light gourmand perfume created by perfumer Sonia Constant for the Barcelonean nichehouse Carner Barcelona. Sonia Constant also created the powerful Cuirs for the house last year and with Rima XI she explores a quite different, lighter and more delicate style. The appearance of Rima XI lies in between Tardes and D600 by Carner Barcelona and closer to Tardes of the two.

Rima XI starts with an almost gourmand accord, similar to the bread and apricot acccord in Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau or the gourmand sandalaccord of Parfumerie Generale Praline de Santal, which to me is a Jeux de Peau follower. There is an almond, cardamon accord that shows up early in Rima X and which is more and less present during the dry down of the perfum. After a whlie, Rima XI suddenly evokes the olfactory image of a sort of sharper Bois Naufragé by Parfumerie Generale, the wood dried in the sun at the beach by the sea and the woody, sandy, slight salty nuances that emerges from this. After a while the sweet, gourmand, character appears again, like an almondcookie, it’s almost like the smell when sniffing in a cookie jar. There is also a discrete flowernote sneaking in to the blend.  This pastry impression remains during the whole development of Rima XI. There is not a oversweet impression, it’s surprisingly light and transparent and there is absolutly no risk that Rima XI will be overwhelming. The almondcookie seems to be offset by a note similar to spicy tea and this balances the fragrance in a delicate way. This accord reminds me of yet another Parfumerie Generale fragrance, Un Crime Exotique but tuned down multiple levels. As UCE is an extreme when it comes to “spieced beverages” inspirated perfumes, readers that dislike UCE should not fear trying Rima XI. As Rima XI is resting in the basenotes the impression still are flowers, almondcookies, spices and tea supported by woody notes.

Rima XI to me is a very versatile fragrance, contemporary in style despite its inspiration from a poem of the 19th Spanish poet G.A.Bécquer: “I am a dream, an impossible; vain ghost of mist and light; I am bodiless, I am untouchable; I cannot love you. – Oh, come, you come!”. IMHO this poem also could describe a the subtle precense of a beautiful perfume, like for instance Rima XI.

Rima XI is wearable year around and could be described as a comfortable and reliable parfume with a close sillage which makes it very officefriendly. The longevity is good. The spicy character, even if light, makes it suitable for daytime wearing during the upcoming Christmas just like another good fragrance for daytime Christmas fragrance, Aus Liebe Zum Duft No 1 (from the excellent german perfumeshop with the same name) which has similariteis in style with Rima XI but as a stronger and masculine alternative.

Rating: 4

Notes: Cardamom, black pepper, mint, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg, jasmine, coriander, cedarwood, sandalwood, vanilla, benzoin, soft amber, musk

lördag 8 december 2012

Perfumeshopping for Christmas

 Picture: Merry Old Santa Claus, 1 January 1881
in Harper's Weekly, Wikimedia Commons

I'm fully aware that an entry with the theme "advices for Christmasshopping" could be endless. Therefore I try to restrict, limit and structure it in some bullet points:
  • All the beautiful perfumes that I have reviewed during the year (and the years before). Have in mind that all perfumes rated from 3 up to 5 have in common that they are all good perfumes. The final rating is in the nose of the wearer, ie my 3 rated perfume could be your 5 rated. Some favorite fragrances when looking back on the testings of 2012 (so far): Balmain Ivoire, Puredistance Opardu, Ramon Monegal Impossible Iris and Umbra, Robert Piguet Bois Noir and Mademoiselle Piguet, Chanel Coco Noir, Maria Candida Gentile Cinabre, Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin , Huitième Art Poudre de Riz, Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilée, Vero Kern Kiki Edp, ByKilian Ambre Oud, Amouage Opus VI., Carner Barcelona D600, Mona di Orio Les Nombres d'Or Rose Etoile d'Hollande, Histoires de Parfums 1876 Mata Hari, Parfumerie Generale Corpes et Ames Eau de Toilette Apaisante, Frapin Speakeasy. This first bulletpoint was of course almost endless :-)
  • For safety reasons: Chanel No 5 in all, or the favorite cocntentration. If the information provided during this autumn from the perfume master Octavian at 1000 Fragrances is correct, there will be no recognizable No 5 when the batches maufactured before June 30, 2013 ar sold out. This as the EU legislation,or IFRA selfregulation or both, will be significantly thougher after this date. And if this will not come into force, the person gifted (or yourself) are the lucky owner to a true and timeless classic.
  • And of course, my usual nagging about to enjoy the easy to buy classics from different categories in the ordinary perfumeshop: For example: Boucheron (signature), Chanel No 19 Edt and Edp, Guerlain Shalimar, Lanvin Arpége, YSL Rive Gauche, Prada Infusion d'Iris Edp, Thierry Mugler Angel and Alien, Dior Poison (and flankers) and Dune,  Oscar de la Renta Esprit d'Oscar are all good fragrances, easy to catch.
  • To attract someone to the perfumeaddiction: Gift with samples or decant-sets. First I'm a bit local:  A very good and reaible source for samples and decants, especially when it comes to the ELDO line (also carrying full bottles) is Riktig Parfym (Real Perfume). Fragrance & Art is another very good swedish E-tailer. F&A provides samples of all the fragrances sold. Well-stocked Aus Liebe zum Duft also provides samples of the perfumes in their assortment.The samples are almost always in spray and contains highly enough to provide sufficient testing.
  • Discovery or samplesets as from Puredistance, Mona di Orio, Parfums MDCI and affordable high quality perfume in basic30 ml bottles from Parfums de Nicolaï.
  • If investing in for example a rare Chanel or Guerlain, the Belgian Perfumeheaven Place Vendome is the real expertise to consult. Excellent and rapid customerservice.

torsdag 6 december 2012

Histoires de Parfums – L’Olympia Music Hall

Picture: L'Olympia, Paris 9em, France,
Photo: KoS, ref PA00089012, (cc) Wikimedia commons,
some rights reserved
L’Olympia Music Hall is another temptating Histoires de Parfumes fragrance (this house ruins me :-) created by the house founder and owner Gérald Ghislain. As in 1889 Moulin Rouge the parfumer is inspired of a parisan musical establishment: L’Olympia Music Hall.

L’Olympia Music Hall starts up with a beautiful, sparkling leather accord where the citrus notes are glimmering and makes the very true leathernote uplifting and captivating. The leathery note continues to be present during the whole dry down of L’Olympia even if teken a step to the background in the later parts of the fragrance. There is the scent of fine leather, as from the inside of an elegant handbag, an impression that deepens when the flowers and a quickly glimpsed accord of powder, occours. There is also a distinct, cold flowery, almost, green note that is present from early on and which also remains in the basenotes. Probably this note appers from the crisp “watery” flowers of lilac and freesia that is listed in the middlenotes. This accord, together with some of the peppery peony accord of Histoires de Parfums Vert Pivoine,   counterbalances the wellblended classical rose-saffron accord and adds additional sparkle to L’Olympia even in the later stages of its dry down. When L’Olympia reaches the basenotes the spicy aspect of saffron is reinforced but counterbalanced with dark patchouli and also with sweet, dark notes as licorice. There is also a  hint of a mouthwatering berrynote present. The leather in this part is tuned down and almost like velvet in texture ie like suede. A pleasant but distinctive musk is finally linking the basenotes together.  The musky, flowery facets that still remains in the base, reminds me somehow of the musky basenotes of the Vert Pivoine mentioned above. Also when L’Olympia lingers for multiple hours in the basenotes, it’s a beautiful fragrance, even if not as original as the opening with the leather accord which is so true to the real scent of leather. To me L’Olympia appears to be a successful mix of a good feminine leather fragrance as for example Cuir de Lancome and a dark, spicy, rose patchouli as for example Midnight Oud by Juliette Has A Gun and Agent Provocateur (by Agent Provocateur).

If L’Olympia embodies the establishment as well as 1889 Moulin Rouge captured the fin d’siecle mood of that establishment, I’don’t know as I don’t know anything about L’Olympia. But I trust the perfumer and assume there were rumbling and colorful shows going on there as very much is going on in this fascinating, distinctive and wellcrafted perfume.

L’Olympia is a perfume of high volume which is acting out its energy underscored by all the interesting notes. It’s appearance reminds me vaugly of the aura of the grand perfumes of the 80s, which is a pleasant discovery in the stream of beautiful, wellbehaved, subudued, powdery, musky, florals we are used to at the present. Under these conditions there is necessary to apply L’Olympia sparingly, a spritz too much and it becomes overpowering. L’Olympia is perfect for evening wear but could also be worn daytime during the winter. Great sillage and stayingpower.

Rating: 4 

Notes: Mandarin, lemon, bergamot, orange, pink berries, black pepper, saffron, rose, freesia, lilac, peony, blond wood, patchouli, frankincense, styrax, suede, vanilla, chocolate, licorice, white musk

måndag 3 december 2012

Serge Lutens - Une Voix Noire

Picture: Billie Holiday and her dog Mister, backstage dressing room,
probably at the Downbeat, NYC, Juni 1946
Photo: William P. Gottlieb, Wikimedia Commons
Une Voix Noire, the latest exclusive from Serge Lutens is a strange creature, almost as last years exclusive De Profundis. I suppose Une Voix Noire is created by Christopher Sheldrake as almost all the Lutens fragrances. Voix Noire is inspired of, and a homage, to Billie Holiday with her dark, dramatic voice (and life), often wearing a gardenia in her dark hair.

Une Voix Noire starts with a dreamy, almost dusky, putty, gardenia accord or a white flower that could be gardenia as it is somehow indefinable. The abstract gardenia is not fresh, it’s a gardenia that just started to wilting. There is also a green, slight mentholic note following, a note that is also present (but more clearly) in Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle. As Une Voix Noire further developes, a note of strawberry appears. The note is not the syntetic, sickly, sweet strawberry note in candy or bubbelgums, the note is less sweet, darker and as the smell of the whole plant, the strawberries, leaves, steam and root with some dry, sandy earth on the rootlets. Soon thereafter a metallic note emerges, a note of steel but also with facets of blood. This stage is a bit gruesome and there is also a dusky, moist, almost sour and rottening vegetating note in the background, a facet that reminds me of the damp floral water note in Kerosene Whips and Roses. There are no distinct basenotes, of course they are there, some slight woody nuances could be noticed, but overall Une Voix Noire seems to be anchored in subtle dark rummy and tobbacconotes. The booziness is dark and minmalistic as is the tobbacco. There is not the blond, dry and almost fresh tobbaco of, for example Frapin Speakeasy, but a dark, slight moisty pipe tobbacco just taken out from the tobbacco envelope to be stuffed in the pipe. The dusky gardenianote is fleeting in the blend, making Une Voix Noire to a beautiful, dark, mysterious and strange composition that leaves me wanting to try this fragrance repeatedly, just as De Profundis a year ago. After two days of wearing it finally klicked which fragrance Une Voix Noire reminds me of when it has dried down and lingers there on the skin until the morning after: The a bit weird and special creation Psychotrope by Pierre Guillaume for Parfumerie Generale, which I like much. The Psychotrope is lighter in its tonality and there are different flowers but there I something in the texture, in the metallic and in some facets almost syntetic feeling that unite these two fragrances.

Just as the stunning De Profundis, Une Voix Noire is a contemplative fragrance that demands peace and quiet to be properly perceived and to evoke the imagination of the wearer. Une Voix Noire could of course evoke the picture of the dark jazzclubs where Lady Day performed, but I also think it has an almost macabre side, the bloody, metallic accord that also could conjure some unpleasant associations.

As concluded from above, Une Voix Noire is a fragrance for quiet days at home, at least until the wearer is familiar with this strange creature. Then it could be worn anyway, preferably during autumn and winter. The sillage is medium and the longevity is very good. 

Rating: 5

Notes: Gardenia, tobbacco, rum 

torsdag 29 november 2012

Versace - Vanitas Edp

Picture: Woman in a yellow dress, oil by Max Kurzweil,1899
Wikimedia commons
Vanitas Edp just as the Vanitas Edt version reviewd earlier this week, is created by Dora Baghriche-Arnaud for Italian fashionhouse Versace.

Rationelly I should of course have reviewed Versace Vanitas Edp first as it was created 2011 the year before the launching of the Edt. But my rational was the weather: The first week in October when the testing took place, is up here in the North, a period with alternating relatively warm and contrasting chilly days. The more sparkling and lighter, when it comes to the mixing of the ingredients, Vanitas Edt was tested during a relatively warm day and the Vanitas Edp on a slight chilly day.

Vanitas Edp has not, as mentioned above, the uplifting, sparkling effects as the Edt possesses. Vanitas Edp is dimmed compared to the Edt, it’s mellower and the florals, which are yellow also in the Edp, are dense and velvety in texture compared to the almost chiffonlike texture of the Edt. The freesia is one of the leading characters in the Edp but not as dominating as in the Edt. In the later dry down I feel a familiar note that is not menitioned in the notelist but I almost sure it is there. It’s the dark end dense orangeblossom note that is even more apparent in Mona di Orios Jabu. Vanitas Edp, especially in it’s later stages, has a hint of the dark melancholy that is present as a hint in the overall joyful Jabu. Vanitas Edp plays with the same concept a comfortable and pleasant fragrance with a trace of seriousness. I think admiers of the fragrances mentioned in the review of Vanitas Edt will also like the Edp but also these who likes more compact, unobtrusive, velvetlike in texture, elegant florals as for example Boucheron pour Femme. Even if they don’t smell close, the conveys a common style.

Vanitas Edp is a fragrance for the days when you just want’s to be taken care of. It wraps around you as a smooth pashmina, as a true comfort for troublesome days. The sillage is less then the sillage of the Edt, which of course is no surprise as Edt-concentrations is constructed to perform a higher radiance. Longevity is about 12 hours, not quite as long as for the Vanitas Edt.

Even if the both Vanitas versions tested are very good and mirrors two faces of the same theme, I slightly prefers the Edt-version and therefore the Edp has a somewhat lower rating.

Rating: 4

Notes: Lime, freesia, tiareflower, tonkabeen, cedarwood

måndag 26 november 2012

Versace - Vanitas Edt

Picture: Idleness, John William Godward , 1900,
Wikimedia commons

Some days I just want to wear a fragarnce that just smells incredible good and that not distracts with strange twists that urges for a constant analyze. Such a fragrance is Versace Vanitas Edt, created by Dora Baghriche-Arnaud, a fresher interpretation of the Edp which was launched last year.

Vanitas Edt starts with a blast of sparkling yellow and white flowers grounded on an mellow, tropical, almosfruity accord that is not overly sweet and accentuating the flowers and gives them a depth. In the earlier stages of Vanitas Edt there is a bit of, but not fully developed, watery-flowery accord in the lotus flower style, like in Water Calligraphy by ByKilian and Gala de Dia by Loewe. As the fragrance dries down the watery texture gradually softens but doesn’t disappear completely. Also in the base the flowers is the most distinguished notes even if grounded on woody and teanotes according to the notelist.

Vanitas Edt is a sophisticated floral fragance with notes that feels almost fruity in the background. It’s a grown up floral, far away from the sweet, pink, young-girlish style.There is also no shrillness as in some Versace creations, neither it reflects the sometimes almost vulguar noveau riche style of the Versace couture. The almost fruity light sweetness, I think it’s the freesia that dominates the blend, smells almost natural, like mango and papaya, and there is no chemical vibes that could be prominent in some fragrances in this style.

Vanitas Edt is suitable for those who enjoy Amouage Honour Woman, Ormonde Jayne Tiare, Dior Pure Poison and First by Van Cleef & Arpels even if the latter is a grand, soapy 70s aldehydic, the lustre and elegance in apparance is similar.

Vanitas Edt is elegant but also relaxing and comfortable, perfect for daytime wear year around and it really blooms in humid weather which was the curicumstances when I tested it. I also think it would be a terrific fragrance to wear during lazy summerdays and warm summerevenings. Longevity is very good, at least 12h and the sillage is medium.

Rate: 4

Notes: Freesia, rose, osmanthus, tiareflower, cedarwood, black tea

torsdag 22 november 2012

Puredistance - I

Picture: Puredistance I, elegant, white soft flowers.
Puredistance (c), all rights reserved.

The first feminine fragrance, properly named I, from Puredistance, is like a summery of the spirit of the fragrances of the house. Puredistance, with long time experienced perfumer Annie Buzantian as housenose (for the femine offerings anymay), is creating timeless elegant, chic and versatile fragrances which in the same time also feels contemprary. I is said to has first beeing created by the perfumer as a personal fragrance for herself and that it remains as one of her own favourites.

I opends up with watery, almost ozonic, mostly white blossom notes. Mr Parfumista says he is getting the olfactory image of a softer, smoother and much more elegant L’Eau d’Issey by Issey Miyake. Probably this is airy, and elegant fresh as the sea aura that surrounds the tamed and polite white blossoms that creates this impression.

As the development of I continues the blend gets light, fluffy, creamy and smells almost as a really exclusive sunscreen. The creamy white and also yellow flowers are fleeting soft and seemless within each other in the Annie Buzantian typical smooth and delicate way in handling flowers. In this stage Puredistance I reminds me of an elegant and smooth variation of Flora Bella from Lalique. Flora Bella also has this warm, almost tropical flowery quality with the clear air from the sea as a refreshing element. But I is rounder, gentler and much more elegant than the flamboyant Flora Bella. In the basenotes I gets less creamy even if some remians and the flowers appears somehow more distinctive, supported by a well balanced white musk combined with the fresh eartyness of vetiver and a hint of ambery depth. Overall there is something in the aura, texture and radiance of I that reminds me of a flowery counterpart to the beautiful airy, sealike, woody Bois Naufragé by Parfumerie Générale. I feels like the image of a beach on a tropical island with almost snowwhite sand on a sunny day with a totally clear, blue sky. Or the image of an elegant lady dressed in white.

I is a very feminine fragrance that adds pleasure and luxury to everyday. In the same time it is easy to wear and adds comfort and security to the wearer without beeing aggressive as a one of the “powerperfumes”. I have to admit hat it has taken some time for me to “get” I, 1,5 years to be exact (review in swedish from spring 2011 here). Not pleasing directly is often a sign of a complicated quality fragrance with many facets and the following indivdual interpretations of the scent. Even if, or probably because, I is not grundbreaking in style it’s a contemporary classic (despite the slight aquatic vibes that could be associated with the 1990s) that could easily qualify as a signature fragrance for a wearer that perfers a limited numbers of perfumes in her wardrobe. I is suitable for office, receptions but also an example of the perfect bridal perfume. A very versatile fragrance!

As all Puredistance fragrances, I is a perfume extrait and as such offer a discrete but definitly detectable sillage. A discreete trail is, under the right conditions, appearing after the wearer of I has left the room and when smelling this, one wonders from where this beautiful scent comes. The longevity is very good, about 24 h.

Rating: 5

Notes: Tangerine blossom, cassis, neroli bigarade, watery nuances,  
magnolia, rose, jasmine, parmenthia, mimosa, amber, vetiver, white musk.

måndag 19 november 2012

Parfums MDCI - Chypre Palatin

Picture: The bias cut look of Madeleine Vionnet
from the 1930s evokes the spirit
and texture of Chypre Palatin

Chypre Palatin is a beautiful fragrance with a strong retro vibe from the french nichehouse Parfums MDCI. Chypre Palatin is created by the, to said the least, very active perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. Chypre Palatin is presented as a masculine fragrance by the perfumehouse but when it comes to my nose, it’s unisex leaning a bit to the feminine side.

Chypre Palatin starts powdery dry, with that almost gunpowdery note that is present in Les Nombres d’Or Ambre by Mona di Orio. A multiple grades stronger interpretation of the gunpowdernote is the classical beginning of Teint de Neige by Lorenzo Villoresi. As the dry down continues, some soft, very wellblended flowery notes (particular from bulbous plants) shows up, supported by smooth tonka and different resins that creates a warm and delightful oriental-chypre (more oriental than chypre) fragrance in the style of Dior Dioressence, but smoother and without the rosy effect of Dioressence. But beneath all the wellbalanced pleasure of Chypre Palatin there is a slight, animalic note (probably the costus) lurking that gives this beautiful fragrance an interesting contrast. Also a sublime, dark, plummy, note is present in the later stages of the dry down.Chypre Palatin to me evokes the image of a fragrance from the 1930s worn by an elegant lady also wearing a bias cut dress by Madeleine Vionnet, but Chypre Palatin is interpreted in a contemporary style ie in a smoother and officefriendly shape. The oakmoss is invisable compared to the fragrances of the former era but probably there in the small IFRA restriced dose that is allowed today.

Chypre Palatin is a fragrance in the ongoing trend of retro inspired, elegant, powdery, fragrances that seems to be en vogue at the moment. Other representatives, even if featuring different notes besides the powdery notes, are Puredistance Opardu (lilac), Huiteme Art Poudre de Riz (tobbacco and tropical flowers) and Parfums de Nicolaï Musc Intense (powdery rose).

Chypre Palatin is a pleasant, versatile, elegant and very wearable fragance that could be worn in daytime for office or formal events year around except during warm summerdays. The sillage is very close and the longevity is almost a day. My only objection to this classy blend is that I which it was a bit more radiant, now it is almost a bit weak on my (dry) skin. As a fragrance of high quality, it’s still there, unfragmented at the end of the day. Maybe this is not  an issue for wearers with moistier skin.

Rating: 5

Notes: Lavender, labdanum, hyacinth, galbanum, sage, clementine, aldehydes, iris, jasmine, gardenia, rose, plum, styrax, benzoin, tolu balsam, vanilla, castoreum, leather, costus, oakmoss, immortelle

PS: Parfums MDCI has an affordable sampleset sold from the website that could be highly recommended. For EUR 90 (within Europe) 5x12 ml of their fragrances will be sent by the mail.

torsdag 15 november 2012

Ramón Monegal – White Musk

Picture: Gardenia jasminoides
Photo by Erin Silversmith (cc) Wikimedia Commons,
some rights reserved

If  Musc Intense by Parfums de Nicolaï that I reviewed earlier this week is a subtle, classical musk which evokes associations to the 18th centruary and the powder-pastels of Madame de Pompadour, Barcelonean perfumer, Ramon Monegals White Musk is the opposite. It’s a true contemporary, high quality, imaginative, interpretation of a flowery white musk that certainly stands out even from the white musk niche-crowd. Just as with Musc Intense, the musk in White Musk is not the typical “mainstream white musk” if anyone can’t stand that interpretation of this interesting basenote.

White Musk starts with a intense cascade of gardenina blended with vanilla and the musk accompanying in a moist, creamy way, it’s like the gardenia is cracked and mixed together with cream and vanilla. The opening is an almost gourmand accord also somehow resembeling the smell and also the texture of coconut. This coconutty texture remains during the whole dry down of White Musk.In the middlenotes the gardenia note is becoming increasingly clearer, the sweetness from the vanilla is tuned down and a light, perfectly balanced, resiny peppery note is accompanying in the background, adding an interesting contrast to the creamy flower. The gardenia note is that of a perfectly fresh gardenia, a gardenia that just have entered the full blooming stage, it’s not the gardenia just started to wilting as in Serge Lutens Une Voix Noire. There are also some subdued, green, crispy notes that could be sensed, just like some of the leaves also are crushed down in the blend. Later on the gardenia gets more fragile, almost papery in texture, similar to the gardenia in the beautiful Gardenia by Isabey. All these notes are mingeling with a well balanced white musk that anchors and depening this sensual blend together with dry resinnotes, almost light blond woody in character. Later on in the further development of the basenotes, there is a sort of clear, a bit wet accord, that in smell and texture reminds me of the Helmt Lang cult-frag Cuiron.

White Musk, even if loud, requires lot of space and is not wellmannered as my top Monegal Impossible Iris, is definitly one of my favourites after testing almost all from the wellcrafted and beautiful Ramon Monegal line. I remember this was the one that immadiately caught my attention when I was “screening” all of the Mongeals samples by just sniffing them from the outside. As almost all Monegals, White Musk is a fragrance that involves the wearer during the dry down, there are many interesting twists and nuances to be find during the journey. White Musk almost also rivals my favoritemusk so far: Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Musc but fortunately they are in quite different musk-genres: White Musk is a bold tropical musk when LNd’O Musc is a traditional, elegant, slight flowery, subdued musk.

White Musk is wearable the year around, I can image it will blooms perfectly a warm summer evening as it will warm up a grey and cold winterday. Not suitable for scentofobic offices, its more of a comfort, casual- or a great evening fragrance. White Musk is, like most of the RM:s, a concentrated fragrance and as it’s very intense, (a changes of name with Musc Intense would be appropriate :-) ) it has to be applied sparingly to avoid knockning the ambient. Sillage is huge (if not careful in application) and longevity extraordinary, 24h+.

I don’t find any “alikes” at the moment but I can image that those who likes Montale Intense Tiare and Les Nez Manoumalia will like this unusual, stunning creation.

Rating: 5

Notes: Rose, gardenia, olibanum, vetiver, vanilla, white musk

måndag 12 november 2012

Parfums de Nicolaï – Musc Intense

Picture: Portrait of Madame de Pompdour (1721-1764)
Francois Boucher, 1756
Musc Intense is a sensual flowery, high quality white musk created by the great parfumer Patricia de Nicolaï for her own house, Parfumes de Nicolaï in 2012.

First of all I want to calm those readers down that don’t like the white musk performed in many of the reacent years mainstream offerings. Musc Intense is nothing of that characteristic almost wet slight chemichal note that could be too much in some offerings but that I like in many, if handled with care. Instead Musc Intense is all about a dry, powdery, luxary musk that integrating the flowers and other ingredients in a subtle manner.

Musc Intense starts with a pleasant, very dry almost gun powdery accord. It’s not the distinct wet gunpowder as in Lorenzo Villoresis Teint de Neige neither the less harsh but anyway close opening accord of the beautiful Temps d’Hiver by Antonio Visconti. But Musc Intense has similarities with both this fragrance openings but is lighter and smoother, just like an elegant loose powder on a powder puff. There is a lighter version of the typical gunpowderaccord of the two former ones,  which I think (just speculating I’m no chemist) consists of rose, carnation and maybe the musc or some other ingredient that could show powdery facetts. As Musc Intense reaches its heart, the powdery, subdued, flowery notes slightly reminds me of the beautiful powdery violet of Opardu by Puredistance. Some subdued liquery notes deepening the accord in a finetuned manner.At last, Musc Intense is anchored in a dry, powdery, not especially sweet musk and there is a deep but at the same time light, pink rosenote that emerges on my skin.

Musc Intense is a subtle and elegant fragrance, well blended of high quality ingredients as we are used to when it comes to creations of Patricia de Nicolaï. The only weakness is that it seems like my skin just eats Musc Intense and the scent therefore is faint to me, even if described as sensual and subtle it’s a bit too subtle to me. The longevity is for about a day and the sillage is very close.

To me Musc Intense is a scent as was it created exclusive for Madame de Pompadour.It’s the essence of the rococoera, delicate fabrics, pastels, powder and musk. Musk Intense is a fragrance for those who likes some of the fragrances mentioned above but also my own favorite musk Les Nombres d’Or Musc by Mona di Orio, also a slight flowery musk but more distinct and less powdery. Also Les Nombres d’Or Ambre by Mona di Orio has a similar drieness and some of the gunpowder of the opening.  If you like Les Nereides Musc Samarkand and Annick Goutal Musc Nomade you probably also will like Musc Intense.

Rating: 4

Notes: Liquer, different types of roses and white musks, carnation, violet, jasmine