måndag 30 juli 2012

Amouage - Interlude Man

Picture: Rheum rhabarbum, leaves and shafts.
Photo: Dieter Weber (Uellue), (cc) Wikimedia commons,
some rights reserved

Just as its female counterpart Amouage Interlude Man starts up anything but pleasant. Interlude Man starts with a strong, burned accord, resembling a turned up version of the burned wood accord of  Mona di Orios Les Nombres d'Or Cuir (in swedish summary in english here). As the accord in Cuir is leaning to the smell of an open fire accord where some meat is grilled a grey autumnday, the burned accord in Interlude Man remids me of the smell of burnt rhubarb pie as there is a light vanillic note glimpsing in the background. When the smoke has tuned down to a more comfortable level the tart, green, rhubarb note becomes more apparent. As rhubarb is not in the notelist, I suspect there is the oregano, the pepper and the incense that creates the tart and spritzy sensation. There is also something that is close to the taste of Zig-Zag pastilles (at least swedish readers probably knows this, pached in small red boxes with white letters on.) In the basenotes Interlude Man settles in well blended, woody, among them the typical oudnote, slight leathery notes. The woody note is smell very natural to me, almost as I sniff on a just cutted down conifers. The projection is large (be warned don't overapply this one) and the longevity is great, 24h+. Interlude Man suits very well for evenings but also as a scent for the day during the colder month of the year. To me Interlude Man is unisex even if leaning to the masculine side. Just to compare, I think Mona di Orios Cuir is more masculine in its expression than Interlude Man.

All in all I think Interlude Man is to close to Mona di Orios Cuir in style and personally I like Cuir better as it's more firm and clear in it's smokey, rough leathery woody character. Interlude Man feels like more uncertain about what it wants to convey. Starts though and rough but later leans anxiously to some tarter ans also sweeter subnotes. The blend also weakens in character and becomes more common, dry, peppery, woody, oud in style, a style that is all but original these days. In the latest stage of the basenotes the blend clears up and get much more interesting: The tart note similar to a smoother geranium becomes evident and this latest stage of Interlude Man i also think is the best one, the oud is similar to that in Mona di Orios Les Nombres d'Or Oud. All in all Interlude Woman to me are more uncommon and therefore I, despite its muddly note (on me), appreciate it much more than Interlude Man.

Rating: 3

Notes:  Bergamot, oregano, pimento berry oil, amber, frankincense, opoponax, cistus, myrrh, leather, agarwood smoke, patchouli, sandalwood

Thanks to Amouage for the sample to test.

fredag 27 juli 2012

Amouage - Interlude Woman

Picture: Zyklus der Monatsbilder, Szene: Der düstere Tag (The Gloomy Day)
(Monat Februar oder März), oil on panel by Pieter Brueghel the elder, 1565

Be warned, this is the most perplexing fragrance that I have tried in many years. It indeed shows a dual personality to me and this is one of the trickiest reviews that I have written.The new Amouage  Interlude Woman doesn't start pleasent at all .When just applied there is a smell almost like fortified wine. There are grapelike and some almost fermented fruity notes. Shortly thereafter the blend turns in a grey and gloomy mud note, supported with some subdued flowers, that mediates the atmosphere of mutued grey, beige and dark red colors of a gloomy day, just like the painting above. From other reviews I have read that many of the reviewers are experiencing an explosion of a great number of bright colors in this stage, but all I percive is this messy gloominess. There is also a fuggy smell, like a sultry closet with old, wollen clothes. When wearing Interlude Women very light applicated, the muddled note is less dense but nevertheless gloomy. A whiff of an accord containing the cold flower of crysanthemum also appears and reminds me a bit of the Serge Lutens beauty De Profundis (review in swedish). Experienced from many years of perfumsniffing I know that a challenging opening of a fragrance often leads to something even more interesting and sometimes also beautful. In Interlude Woman the muddled texture slowly decreases and now and then short whiffs of the excellent Amouage frankincense appears. When reaching the basenotes Interlude Woman clears up considerable, the mud is drying to a pleasent putty note.The fermented fruits developes to a note that could be described as "preserved prunes with leather " with a glimmer of the incense and some peppery oud added. As the drydown futher progresses there is also notes that reminds me of bay leaf and pickled juniperberries. This part of Interlude Woman I experience as more masculine than feminine in style and to me the fragrance is quite unisex. The basenotes are the best part of Interlude Woman and in this stage is both interesting and enjoyable, not as the top and middlenotes, which are almost solely interesting but not particulary enjoyable. The basenotes are lasting for long, during at least a whole day. The sillage is medium.

In Interlude Woman I find some similarities, i.e the mud note and the almost messy impression, with Amouage Opus III, but for me Opus III is better. Both Opus III and Interlude Woman is created by perfumer Karine Vinchon Spehn and maybe she uses some accord that doesn't goes well with my chemistry, as obviously Interlude Woman fits so many others.

All in all Amouage Interlude Woman isn't true to me even if  my appreciation of  the basenotes is growing. As mentioned above it's probably my skinchemistry as I havn't read a negative or not even neutral review of Interlude Woman. Could I come over the first part of the fragrance...But on the other hand my wallet is reliefed as it not has to live under the constant pressure from a new Amouage (from the regular line). These bottles almost always are screaming "own me".

Despite my shortcomings wearing this fragrance, I think of Interlude Woman as an interesting and demanding fragrance of high quality that also is strangely beautiful when reaching it's basenotes. And I somehow suspect that one day I will like it, I will get back to my sample the coming winter in order to reassess it. Even if challenging in character, to be an Amouage Interlude Woman is almost subdued and it is wearable in many different situations.

Rating: 3+

Notes: Bergamot, grapefruit, ginger, tagete, rose, frankincense, jasmine, orange blossom, helichrysum, opoponax, sandalwood, nut, coffee, kiwi, honey, agarwood, vanilla, benzoin, amber, sandalwood, oakmoss, leather, tonka, musk

Thanks to Amouage for providing a sample to try.

tisdag 24 juli 2012

Considerations when it comes to perfumerating

Photo: Parfumista (c)

When I rate parfumes I use the scale 1-5 where 5 is the best and 1 is the lowest rating. The ratingscale are fintuned with a "+" when a fragrances has qualities that somehow exceeds the chosen rating but don't  reaches all the way up to the next grade. I have observed that the number of 4 and 5 rated fragrances in my reviews are disproportionately high compared to the fragrances rated as "good" (ie medium, quite ok, something I would like wear). An explanation to this is that I acquires samples of fragrances that there in advance is a high probability that I will like as I read a lot about them and know my favorite houses/noses/notes. But to perform the grading more accurately in the future, I have to consider what should form the criterias be to deserve a certain rating.

In my perfumerating section I describe as follows:

"When I describe and evaluate a fragrance in a review it is concluded with a weighted rating. The components considered are: Quality of the ingredients, longivity on the skin, balance in the composition, originality of the composition, if there is an interesting development during the day, if the scent is stimulates the imagination , if the fragrance is reasonably priced (compared to what it delivers), if there is a surprise or a disappointment. Overall it provides a subjective assessment based on the experience and knowledge accumulated over several decades being interested in perfume.

5. An exellent fragrance. Something beyond the ordinary, perhaps already a classic or a future classic. Or just a beautiful fragrance that I love....
4. A very good fragrance. Or a fragrance that I like very much or almost love.
3. A good fragrance. Adequate, no reason not to buy a sample or two of it when I like it. Something that I will wear occasionally.
2. Not so good. A fragrance that does not live up to the expectations. A disappointment to me and therefore not worth buying to me.
1. Poor, a fragrance that is underperforming. "

I think all this is still relevant but I think that two factors are increasingly important to me: 1) The fragrance is challenging or otherwise interesting and keeps my interest during it's whole dry down and during a whole day ie the longevity have to be good. Or 2) The fragrance makes me feel comfortable and I'm longing to wear the fragrance. The fragrance supports me in uncomfortable situations and strengthen my self-confidence. A perfume rated 3 doesn't have these qualities to me (to my personal liking) even if smelling good and I probably would wear such a fragrance from time to time. But I could nonetheless recommend the scent to others to try as I have assessed the fragrance as good and to somebody else these two important qualities described maybe will occur.

lördag 21 juli 2012

Ramón Monegal - L'Eau de Rose

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

Ramón Monegals rosewater is despite of it's airy, happy, uplifting character, not a traditional dab-on rosewater L'Eau de Rose seems to me as a bright and seemlessy blended Edt composed by high quality roseoils. The scent of the rose is the scent of the rosebuds of the flower, there is no harsh green notes of the steem or leaves crushed in the blend, just the smooth and creemy rosebuds. I image there is rose buds from different colors particulary pink but also yellow, orange and red, all of them in the lighter and brigther tonality of the respective color. Soon the rosiness becomes creamy, it smells almost as the nail cream my mother used when I was a child, and as she rememered from her childhood that her grandmother used. As the delicate blend reaches the basenotes it's grounded with a light touched patchouli that gives the blend a interesting darker dept as a background. There is also musk there but so well intergrated that I don't smell it as a separate, dominate note. In fact, I was surprised when wearing L'Eau de Rose that the, for light and bright rose fragrances, mandatory rose-musk combination is missing.

To me L'Eau de Rose is sort of a delicate, fintuned, summerversion of rose, patchouli combos such as Lady Vengeance by Juliette Has a Gun (review in swedish). Also bright and light pink rose fragrances as Rose Pivoine by Patricia de Nicolï and Bulgari Rose Essentielle comes to my mind even if L'Eau de Rose is less sweet and has it's darker twist compared to the two latter fragrances.

All in all: L'Eau de Rose is a straight forward light rosefragrance, easy and comfortable to wear, suitable both for casual and officewear. The longevity is great, a full day wearing in summer, the sillage is close. The darker patchuli twist makes L'Eau de Rose staying away from the dull and meek light rose fragrance territory. A good alternative when it comes to the light and bright rose fragrance category.

Rating: 4+
Rating: 5 (June 2013)
Update: L'Eau de Rose is unusual to be a pink rose and deserves to climb the last half step to reach the highest rating 5.

Notes:  Tea rose, taif rose, neroli, patchouli, musk

torsdag 19 juli 2012

Remembering Mona

I hope that as many of you as possible has noticed the moving newsletter of yesterday from Parfums Mona di Orio. If not I copied it; here it is......And I will pick a rose today to remember Mona, my favoriteparfumer.....

Mona di Orio

Tomorrow the 19th of July is Mona's birthday.
I hope she will be extra remembered on this day.
Mona dedicated  a big part of life to the Art of Parfum.

She always hoped that people would open up and receive the gift of really using their nose.
Become aware of the smells around you.

To remind her on this day it would be great to pick up a flower and smell it intensly and think of Mona.
Mona you are being missed.


Ramón Monegal – Entre Naranjos

Picture: Citrus aurantium, (bitter orange "Orange de Seville")
Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid.
Photo: A.Barra (cc), Wikimedia Commons,
some rights reserved

Now it’s time to going on posting my impressions from my journey of discovery of the Ramón Monegal fragrances. Of course I should have introduced the house and the line by now but as my overall impression from what I have sniffed from the house is very positive, I can’t stop myself from testing and forward my impressions of the fragrances. But the hard facts will follow later J.
Entre Naranjos, between the oranges (trees?), is a name that matching this uplifting orange scent perfectly. The formula seems straight forward but for the sake not at all simple as the ingredients seems to be of a good quality and as in the RM fragrances tested so far, also well blended without any rough or sharp edges (except the neutronbomb Dry Wood). Entre Naranjos have similarities with the classic Hermès Eau de Cologne Orange Verte but as EDCOV is more about the orangeflowers EN is almost all about the oranges, the fresh fruits themselves, directly picked from the tree, peeled and eaten in it’s shadow. Despite the initial similarities, the fragrances then take different directions: Where EDCOV:s citrus accented orangeflowers rests on a cool, bright, mossy base, EN:s fruity orange goes darker and more oriental-woody in style, resting on a light peppery (cedar?), woody amber base. The patchouli is very well blended with the other ingredients and it’s not recognizable as a singular note, but it’s adding some chilly eartyness to the blend.  All in all: EN stirkes me as a sort of contemporary interpretaion of the orange-cologne theme of the Hermès classic.

EN to me seems to be a good year around cologne, during the colder season as a vitamin boost and a reminder of the sunny summer. It’s perfect for casual daytimewear and will not offend anybody in the office enviroment. EN is unisex in style even if some passages of it is leaning slight to the masculine side. The sillage is close, the longevity is relativly short, not the 24h + that I have experienced from some other RM fragrances. On the other hand as  EN is leaning towards the cologne style one can’t expect more.

To summon it all up: Entre Naranjos is a versatile, casual, orange-woody fragrance, not groundbreaking but a good choice for a basic contemporary alternative in the citrus section of the fragrance wardrobe.

Rating: 3

Notes: Orange blossom, bitter orange, petit grain, neroli, amber, patchouli

lördag 14 juli 2012

Ramón Monegal - Impossible Iris

Picture: The Impossible Iris personified
H.R.H Crownprincess Victoria of Sweden,
Photo: Mattias Edwall/Royal Court (c) 

The Impossible Iris, a creation of senior parfumer Ramón Monegal for his own house, which also bears his name, is all but impossible. It's a beautiful irisfragrance in which the perfumer manages to curb the sharp, rough, carrot-earthy notes that are present in the topnotes of almost every orris-root dominated perfume as in for example Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist or Heeley Iris de Nuit. The carrot is there but it's soft and rounded, in texture as cashmere. Another fragrance where I have percieved this sensation is in Naiviris the Pierre Guillaumes creation for his Huitième Art line. After a while the iris note in Impossible Iris get an almost buttery (the orris-butter?), but at the same time airy quality. Soon also an unexpected twist for such a pure, elegant creation like this appears: A red berry note, but handled in a way that supports and balances the cold iris, ther is no typical sweet, fruity-floral, vibes at all. The warm and almost powdery note of mimosa is also clearly present to balance out the iris. In this stage there is a powdery-cosmetic feel that is characteristic for elegant iris fragrances but in Impossible Iris it's tuned down and constitute one of all the interesting facets of this fragrance. The whole delicate blend rests on a light woody-cedar base, integrated in a seamless way with the rest of the ingredients.

Impossible Iris is high quality stuff, very versatile, it's the perfect officescent, a sort of first-class Prada Infusion d'Iris Edp replacement. Impossible Iris is also the perfect "lunch at some elegant restaurant fragrance" or something to wear at a day time reception, would be a perfect choise to our Crownprincess Victoria for the official celebrations of her 35th birthday today. If Impossible Iris is to be personified, Victoria is my choice. When wearing Impossible Iris another high quality iris comes to my mind, the XerJoff Irisss (review in swedish). Both these fragrances have the elegant, gently, airy quality but to me the orris root are more present in Impossible Iris whilst Irisss to my nose is more about the iris flower. Of the two IMHO Impossible Iris has more interesting twists whereas Irisss is more of a conventional, classical iris.

Even if Impossible Iris is easy to wear, the developement is interesting during the whole dry down, something that I demand from my favourite fragrances. The longevity is great, + 24 hours in warm, humid summer weather, a feature that is not common when it comes to fragrances with this smooth and gentle character. Often such fragrances falls apart and fade away, but not this incredible,beautiful (Im)possible Iris.

Rating: 5

Notes: Iris, mimose, raspberry, ylang-ylang, jasmine, cedar

Thanks to Ramón Monegal Parfums for getting the opportunity to sample this beauty. The Ramón Monegal Parfums are also avaible at Aus Liebe zum Duft .

tisdag 10 juli 2012

Caldey Abbey Perfumes - Island Fern

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

I was so inspired by Pojkfrökens fact-filled travel report (in swedish) from the Island of sacred fragrances Caldey Island so I felt the urge to test the Island Fern also described in the post of Pojkfröken. Last year when I orderd the Caldey Abbeys best fragrance (five stars from Luca Turin and by him appointed as the best lavendel) Caldey Island Lavendel  I also received a bunch of generous samples from the bountiful monks. One of them is Island Fern.

Island Fern is a green in texture, a soapy, herbal, grassy, slight mossy blend, an archetypal fougère. I haven't much to add to Pojkfrökens review, my impressions seems to be similar.Island Ferns structure is straightforward, neither complicated nor "great parfumery" but with good quality of the ingredients and it's an excellent reference fougère. In style it has some similarities with lighter, classical vetivers as for example Guerlains Vetiver but Island Fern is smoother, soapier and gentler in charachter. It reminds me somehow of a retrostyled hotelsoap. Island Fern is the perfect scent to splash on after a sauna and the following refreshing bath in the sea, an easy going scent for casual life in the archipelago. The longevity is medium, better then I expected, the sillage is quite close with some whiffs around the wearer now and then.

Rating: 3

Notes: Fern, moss, grass, herbals, aldehydes (I guess as I have not found a notelist of Island Fern)

Thanks to Caldey Island Abbey for samples to try.

lördag 7 juli 2012

Mona di Orio - Les Nombres d'Or Rose Etoile de Hollande

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

Rose Etoile de Hollande is maybe not Monas last creation but as a formula that she has worked on for several years and was finished before her tragical death last December, it's a deserving tribute to a great perfumer. A perfumer that is my most preferred.

- Pink rose with some of the to the rose oils typical rubbernote in the top/early middlenotes, but the rubbernote is gentler than in for example Annick Goutals Rose Absolue a high quality rose soliflore.

-Later on in the developement REdH is like a almost dry not especially sweet gourmand scent. This stage reminds med of Andy Tauers wonderful Une Rose Vermeille (minus the sweet jammy rosiness). In it's texture and the feeling REdH is close to Les Nombres d'Or Musc with some powder (minus the crackling dry gunpowder powderness) from Les Nombres d'Or Ambre. In the base there is darker, spicy, resiny, velvety dry notes. A fine, gentle leather note is also shining through. In the last stages it feels retro in style, with dark and dramatic facets, like a well mannered Rochas Femme. There is also a slight dusty note that reminds me of the "dust on a glowing bulb" note (minus the glowing) in Monas first creation of her own house: Carnation.

- REdH appers to me as softer and gentler then many of the earlier Mona creations. The sillage is close, almost as a skinscent but with occasional wiffs of the beautiful, pink rose on it's deeper and darker background.

- REdH conveys the sensation of soft cashmere and angora to me. It's clearly feminine in style.

- I tested REdH in summer but I also think it will fit very well (if not even better) in the cold season. Tender but in the same time sparkling like a little far away twinkling dimond star a starry winternight. A star like Mona.

- Monas companion, Jeroen Oude Sogetoen, has dedicated the name Rose Etoile de Hollande to Mona. Mona is the Star of Holland, Holland where their perfumehouse is domiciled and also where Mona have her final restingplace.

- To summon it all up: I love this rose, it fullfilled my very high expectations, but as always I could trust Mona handling one of my favouritenotes. REdH is not as dark as I had expected but that is absolutly not a disadvantage. On the contrary, darker roses are often more rough in characher. This one goes from bright to medium on a dark, contrasting background, it's one of those fragrances that demands attention during the whole developement which to me is the essence of a fine perfume.

Rating: 5

Notes: Aldehydes, white peach, bergamot, rose, cloves, geranium, leather, patchouli, cedar, heliotrope, vanilla, benzoin, amber, peru balsam.

Thanks to Parfums Mona di Orio for sending me a sample to test. REdH is avaible at Aus Liebe zum Duft.

torsdag 5 juli 2012

Lubin - Idole

Spices in Mapusa Market, Goa, India,
Foto: Judepics, cc (some rights reserved)
Wikimedia commons

Scroll down for an version in english.

Idole är en kryddigt, träig doft enligt uppgift skapad av Olivia Giacobetti 2005 i samband med uppfräschningen och moderniseringen av det gamla klassiska parfymhuset Lubin.

Idole är inspirerad av dofterna i den afrikanska, karibiska och indiska oceaniska övärlden. Jag känner kryddor, mörkt trä, lite tjära och romindränkta tunnor fraktat av ett segelfartyg. Ingredienserna till trots så är ändå Idole en transparent doft, en motsats som gör doften fascinerande. När det gäller kryddigheten så känns den speciella pepprighet som saffran ger, en not som också finns i Montales Amber & Spices och Sisleys Eau de Sisley 3. Den transparenta stilen trots en del kraftfulla ingredienser, delar Idole med Eau de Sisley 3 fast den senare är dominerad av citrus där Idole domineras av trä. Det finns också något i den känsla som Idole framkallar som påminner om Maitre Parfumeur et Gantiers Eau des Iles.

Idole är en mörk kryddoft som med fördel kan bäras även sommartid. Passar dagtid både på jobbet och som casual. Mycket bärbar och en bra basdoft men inte (längre) särskilt originell.

Idole is a spicy, woody fragrance created by Olivia Giacobetti in 2005 in connection with the refresh and modernization of the old classic perfume house Lubin. Idole is inspired by the scents of the islands of the African, Caribbean and Indian oceans. I smell lot of spices, dark wood, a little tar and the rum-soaked barrels transported by a sailing ship. Despite all these potent ingredients, Idole is still a transparent fragrance, a contrast that makes the blend fascinating. In the case with the spiciness, it smells like that special peppery note that saffron gives, a note which is also is present in  Montales Amber & Spices and Sisley Eau de Sisley 3. The transparent style despite some powerful ingredients, is the common denominator for Idole and Eau de Sisley 3, the latter is dominated by citrus where Idole instead is dominated by woody notes. There is also something in the sense that Idole conveys that is reminiscent to Maitre Parfumeur et Gantiers Eau des Iles.

To summon up Idole is a dark spicy-woody fragrance which can be worn advantageously preferable in the summer. Suitable for daytime at work as well as casual. Very versatile and a good basic in a fragrance wardeobe but not (any longer) particularly original.

Rating: 3+

Noter/notes: Bitter apelsin, mörk rom, klöver, saffran, socker, ebenholz, sandelträ, läder /bitter orange, dark rum, clover, soffron, sugar, ebony, sandalwood, leather

måndag 2 juli 2012

Tour de Montale

I'm so tired of all the complaints of the multiple offerings from the house of Montale that has been common the latest years in the perfumebloggosphere. Going from beeing praised when Montale started the oud-trend in the beginning/middle of the 00-decade, suddenly (when other houses followed and started to realease easier, light oud interpretations) the common thoughts went quite the opposite. Montale is for instance accused to have to 1) many, too similar smelling offerings, 2) using a sharp, syntetichal oud and 3) to release too many fragrances per year. My reaction to 1) and 3) is that it is up to the customer to try and decide and as long it's opportunities for sale on the worldmarket it's also reasonable to continue. Regarding 2) my opinion is that most perfumelines uses syntetical oud at most so Montale isn't differently then the others and I also think that they are using real oud to some extent in some of their offerings.As to the sharp oudnote there is used more or less in the Montales I have to confess I really like it. It's a distinct antipode to the other ingredients and lends character an longevity beyond 24h for the blends. I experience this oudnote as somehow cool-earthy-refreshing and I prefer the oud-line in summer even if the ouds also fits well in the colder seasons.

The last week I devoted myself to test some Montales from the oudline foremost to try out if they are so similar as claimed to. My answer is no, the typical Montale base is present in various proportions but as a whole I can smell apparent differences between the four that was tested and I was not bored at all, on the contrary. And when it comes to typical bases, most houses has their own characteristic base and I can't see why it shouldn't Montale do the same. My impression from the tested fragrances is as follows:

Aoud Queen Roses: This one is more about medium red, fresh roses then about oud. The oud is relatively unobtrusive in the background.

Black Oud: The most famous Montale and probably, all ifs and buts weighted, also the best. Dark roses, that together with the patchouli and oud creates an almost creamy leathery effect. This one almost always attracts compliments.

Aoud Leather: Not so heavy on the dark oudnote, here the oud ist the peppery interpretation. Together with a note that reminds me of lime and a light and bright leathernote this of is refreshing a warm summerday.

Aoud Amber: Aoud Amber is perhaps the most "cold season" of the four. To me the oud note is muted in AA, there is more of a sort of skanky, oriental-chypre charachter with resiny notes combined with notes which are mossy in charachter. This is a strange but enjoyable blend.

To summon up: I percived enough variation in the oud-theme to enjoy may four days of tour de Montale.