torsdag 30 augusti 2012

Maître Parfumeur et Gantier - Soie Rouge

Picture: Gartennelke (Dianthus caryophyllus)
Photo: Darkone (cc) Wikimedia Commons, some rights reserved

MPG:s Soie Rouge is one of several fragrances that was launched when Jean Laporte started the MPG house in 1988. Soie Rouge is MPG::s interpretation of the, to my nose, difficult note carnation. I'm not particulary fond of carnation dominated fragrances,Carons Bellodgia is to strong and clovy, Etros Dianthus too clovy and Serge Lutens Vitrioil d'Oeillet to weak on the cranation.

Soie Rouge starts with somthing like a dry fruity mess accompanied by a slight laudry/detergent smell. Fortunately this part is passing quickly and than a more pleasent note that seems familiar to the passionflower in MPG Fraiche Passiflore passes by. After fifteen to thirty minutes the carnation takes the centerplace and the fruity notes are tuned down to a supporting background. The carnation is without that mandatory clove which I find to be a great relief. A clean carnation supported by a soft, dimmed fruitiness and a something smooth, creamy, that reminds me of a rose note, even if it's not among the ingredients. All the notes are resting on a rather pale musky, sandalwoody base. Soie Rouge recalls memories from my childhood, from dinners in my grandmothers beautiful Jugendhaus. Probably  handsome aunt Birgit was the one that wore the carnation, maybe Bellodgia. My own mother was even then faithful to Dior; mostly Diorissimo but also Miss Dior, Dioressence and Diorama. How I wish she hadn't use up those bottles....

Soie Rouge is a good carnation, the best tested so far to me. I like that it's not paired and soaked with clove and more true to the flower. The blend is soft and very polite to be a MPG of 1988, the sillage is very colse to the skin and there is some longevity issues. But on the other hand, I have put Soie Rouge on a hard test: Shuffling heavy snow during an hour in the cold swedish winter, it is probably not fair to judge.

Update August 2012: Fortunately the winter has not arrived yet here in the north, there is still summer :-) This review was written when I tested Soie Rouge last winter and has been waiting in the archives since then.

Rating: 3

Notes: Pineapple, dried fruits, carnation, iris, jasmine, heliotrophe, apricot, musk, sandalwood, amber

måndag 27 augusti 2012

Chanel - Coco Noir

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

I really have tried to resist to like this frag as described as a disappointment in the perfumeblogosphere. There has to be a lot of weaknesses with it, something that better trained noses than mine understand
:-) . After a rapid skintesting from the tester in the store and from sniffing a scentstrip during a day, I have to confess: I really like Coco Noir and I even think it match the beautiful bottle and the story behind it quite well. I think it's a very wellcrafted floral musk with sweet fruity patchouli notes. When reading this one can be missleaded and think it's just another pink, berry/fruity, patch, but to my nose it isn't. First of all, even íf a fruity-patch-musk, it has the elegance and aura that is Chanel and that separates Coco Noir from hundereds of other in this genre. Second Coco Noir is not pink at all. It is dark, fruity, flowery, patchy which notes are contrasting the initial blast of light citrus bergamot. Third, there is tuned down traces of Coco Mademoiselle (in swedish) a fragrance that I unlike most perfumenerds like very much. Fourth the longevity is very good.

As stated above, Coco Noir starts light with the citrus/grape-bergamott infused accord. Then a moderate sweet, dark fruity-green-flowery, patchouli accord takes over and creates a distinct contrast to the topnotes. This stage is a bit dangerous because if too heavy applied, I suspect that it could be sickly sweet. After a whlie a rosy green geranium note appears and it adds a beautiful soapy quality to the blend, a soapiness that I feel very comfortable in. The soapiness creates an interesting retro vibe to Coco Noir. In the base there is a withe musk anchoring the blend, together with a soft and powdery tonka been and some light woody, slight resiny notes.

Strangely enough, I percieve Coco Noir as quite noir, other fruity-patchy blends are sweetly pink in comparison. When I first sniffed Coco Noir my first reaction was the similarity to the original muskfrag by Les Nereides, Musc de Java. The same sort of fruityness, almost berrylike, the patch and the musk are similar to each other but Musc de Java, even if more robust and rough, is thinner in it's texture and has an original hay-note that is not included in Coco Noir. Musc de Java is also brighter and lighter and is lighter on the soapy note. Coco Noir is a full and mature variation on the Musc de Java theme.

As with last year Chanel No 19 Poudré (in swedish) that also was not well received (at first anyway) in the perfumeblogosphere, I think one have to judge the flankers completely separate from the original fragrance and look at them as they where released under brand new names. Just as with Chanel No 19 Poudré compared to Chanel No 19, Coco Noir has little or no relation to the original, the beautiful oriental spicy Coco (despite the noir vibe), I think most of us perfumepundits starts to compare it with Coco and Coco Mademoiselle and therefore don't judge Coco Noir on it's own merits.

To me Coco Noir is a wearable and comfortable fragrance, definitly fbw and I just wonder for how long I will be able to resist...

Rating: 5
Rating update March 2013: 4  
Rating update April 2018: 5

Seems as CN wear better in warm and humid weather than in cold and dry. I perceive CN as less  integrated between it's different stages and that the sweet accord stands out a bit too much in the top- and middlenotes. Reaching its basenotes, CN is just as good as last late summer. 

As times has gone by and I have worn the Coco family even more and become familiar also with the Edt versions of Coco and Coco Mad as also Coco Mad Intense, Noir is back as a 5 rated member of the family.

Notes: Grapefruit, bergamot, rose, narcissus, geranium leaf, jasmine, tonka bean, sandalwood, vanilla, patchouli, white musk, frankincense

torsdag 23 augusti 2012

Kerosene - Whips and Roses

Picture: A frag for Lucrezia?
 Probably a portrait of Lucrezia Borgia,
oil on panel by Barolomeo Veneto

Whips and Roses is created by the Michiganbased selfmade perfumer John Pegg. John is a perfumenerd, like most of us reading posts like this, who has taken the brave step to create frags by himself and it seems like he as made a great sucess as he is very en vogue in Perfumland at the moment. John has worked in the automobile industry and the crafted Kerosene bottles are inspired by this background, they are all hand coated by the perfumer himself.

Pink roses, a tart greenery, a slight leathery note over a musky base, Whips and Roses is a fragrance that conveys creepy, spooky undertones. WaR starts with the tart greenery, as the leaves and steem is blended with the all but fresh floralwater in the vase. After a while the pink roses intensifies but they never becomes dominating. The roses are supported by a slight leathery note, just perceptible to my nose. The top and the middle stages of WaR, where the creepy graveyeard association appears, are the most exciting and imiginative phases of the fragrance. As WaR has dried down to the base the blend is transformed to a comfortable but rather common white musk.

WaR in it's earlier stages reminds me of a damp and sort of chemical Rose Splendide by Annick Goutal (review in swedish), RS conveys the same imagination of leaves and steems blended with the pink rose, but the Goutal fragrance is bright and fresh where the WaR is dark and damp (in a positive way). In the base WaR reminds me of the pink rosy musky base of Bulgari Rose Essentielle Edp but the Bulgari musk seems more delicate to me, the Kerosene is more rough edged.

To sum up: WaR is a starts as an eccentric rose but ends in a more familiar rosy-musk. When writing this I have only tried this and Copper Skies from Kerosene and of the two Copper Skies is definitly my first choice, se review earlier this week.

Rating: 3

Notes: Bergamot, blood orange, rose, jasmine, gardenia, iris, sandalwood, musk, leather

måndag 20 augusti 2012

Kerosene – Copper Skies

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

Some amber marinated in tobacco oil, with coconutty leathery, almost medical notes surrounded by a wiff of menthol. The opening of Michigan self learned perfumer John Peggs Copper Skies is brutal and almost exaggerated, the impression is as the fragrance is blended in an old oil drum in the perfumers garage. This perfectly fits the image of John Pegg, the former automobile worker, now devoted to perfume creation for his own line of Kerosene. The leather – coconut note in Copper Skies reminds me of an accord in ELDO Rien and/or Tom of Finland, as I remember this is present in both these fragrances, with a rougher edge in Rien and smoother in Tom of Finland. Mr Parfumista also smells a dark lavendelnote maybe a concentrated lavendeloil smells like this. 

As Copper Skies calms down in the middlenotes, the amber becomes more apparent, and the blend becomes smoother and appears as a contemporary (not classic) amber surrounded by smooth and moderatly sweet honey accentuated with spices and cloves. There is no for the amber genre typical vanillanote, for example in By Kilian Amber Oud, something that differs Copper Skies from a lot off classical ambers. There is neither the obvious herbal ackord, typical for the more masculine ambers in the style of MPG  Ambre Precieux  and HdP Ambre 114. During the dry down Mr Parfumista smells traces of the note of silver polish present in Annick Goutal Vetiver and also some of the darker elements from Sables. As Copper Skies reaches the basenotes something unusual happening, it’s as the fragrance retakes, the amber/tobacco/clove accord becomes more intense and also whiffs of the menthol note appears again.

Copper Skies is a rough and tough fragrance, far from fine “haute couture perfumery”. There is a more or less muted ELDO-vibe during the whole developement of Copper Skies. But as mentioned above, some Goutals are also present and maybe there is a part of the secret of the Copper Skies sucess: Each wearer can recognise some of his/hers favoritescents.  Copper Skies also mediates a somehow homemade impression but in a positive, relieving way. The only thing that annoys me with Copper Skies and which lower its rating, is the feeling that the components doesn't blend together enough. It's like the perfumer has trown in different comfortable fragrances but haven't mixed them properly together and they are existing side by side/as followers of each other. On the other hand this gives the fragrance a own identity and as the same pattern is recognizable also in Kerosenes green creation Creature, this is mabye the characteristic mark of the Kerosenebrand.

Copper Skies is werable the year around, as it lacks the vanilla sweetness it’s also suitable for summer. Of course, as it name indicates, it’s a perfect late autumn scent, when the leaves has fallen from the trees, lying sparkling of yellow, orange and red of the ground, the air is chilly and the orange, blue, grey clouds chases across the sky. The longevity of Copper Skies is amazing 24+ , the blend is strong, heavy application is prohibited J . The development of the fragrance is interesting, the least interesting part is the middlenotes, but this is offset of the cozy feeling that this stage mediates, this is a constant wrist-sniffing stage. I’m sure Copper Skies will be a comfortable fragrance (despite it’s brutal start) to fall back upon days when I don’t know what to wear during the colder months. Copper Skies is truly unisex, even the picky Mr Parfumista sneaks from this and as there is very few new releases that please him nowadays, this is a high mark for Copper Skies. I rarely blindbuying frags, but in this case I'm glad I did it, despite it seems as Mr Parfumista has taken over the bottle :-)

Writing about the bottle: The eccentric bottle coated with car paint and the copperlabel is handpainted/ decorated by Mr Pegg himself.

Rating: 4 + on me, 5 on Mr Parfumista
Notes: Amber, tobacco, beewax, basil, clove

Update autumn 2012: Mr Parfumista has taken over the bottle for real and Copper Skies has fast advanced to one of his most preferred fragrances.

torsdag 16 augusti 2012

The mainstream niche

As I strolled around in the local chain-perfumstore some perfumed insights just popped up. In these days when the launches of many nichelines becomes more and more bland and not distinguishable from other niche and mainstream offerings (we can call it "mainstremification" of the niche) an opposing movement occurs automatically when it comes to some "mainstream" parfumes or maybe better referred to "designer"parfumes. Just looking around in the ordinary assortment of the chainstore I visited, I came to some conclusions:

- The classics still remaining in the assortment  is way more interesting then the majority of the new niche realeases. A perfume that have survived five to ten years or more, even if gradually reformulated, has stood the test of time and is something special. Examples: Rive Gauche (YSL), No 5 & Coco (Chanel), Angel & Alien (Thierry Mugler), Infusion d'Iris (Prada), Aromatic Elixir (Clinique)

- There are good new releases too, even if increasingly rarer (in relative terms) i.e exactly the same phenomen as in the niche sector. From the latest two years: Esprit d'Oscar (Oscar de la Renta), Le Parfum (Elie Saab),  No 19 Poudre (Chanel), Body (Burberry), Candy (Prada).

- The, in some cases quite distinctive reformulations of some fragrances, with the new Dior policy as a hallmark, suddenly makes a ten year old bottle with an pre-reformulation formula to an almost niche fragrance. Examples are of course in particualar from the Dior range: Dior Addict, Dune, Miss Dior Cherie Edp. I will  definitely treasure my (not so) old Diors :-).

-This store had a tester of Miss Dior labled as that and not the new Miss Dior Originale. I bet the MDO version formula is somehow tweaked too.

When writing this I'm yearning for these and other distinctive "mainstream" fragrances. As I'm almost always  sampling different nichefragrances, a week or two in "mainstream" would be a great relief.

måndag 13 augusti 2012

Chanel Les Exclusifs - No 28 La Pausa

Pic: Iris squalens, Photo by Bernd Haynold, (cc)
Wikimedia Commons, some rights reserved

Scroll down for an english version.
Aromatiskt cederträ med citrus och lätt irisrot är mitt sammanfattande intryck av Chanels ljusa irisdoft No 28 La Pausa som skapades av Jacques Polge som en del i Les Exclusifsserien 2007. Dofter mer åt Acqua di Gio hållet (än Chanel No 19 Poudre) är herr Parfumistas spontana kommenter och jag kan delvis hålla med. Irisen är mer irisrot än blomma men en lätt och ozonisk sådan, inte morotstonad, som längre fram i doftens nedtorkning får en mycket diskret, knapp märkbar, ton av läppstift. Cederträet ger en fin ton av nyvässad blyertspenna och den är mycket väl balanserad, blir inte pepprig eller för skarp och dominant. Citrus ger en fräschör och lyfter doften medan irisen balanserar och tillför en avslappnad elegans. I basen finns slutligen en lagom grön och lätt vetiver som ett ankare för No 28 La Pausa.

La Pausa är en i mitt tycke klassiskt modern doft som mycket väl även kan användas av herrar. Den är diskret och passar därför det doftofobiska kontoret. Många klagar på dålig hållbarhet under dagen men så är inte fallet för mig. La Pausa håller ofragmenterad mer än tolv timmar men projektionen är hela tiden låg vilket också är idén bakom många moderna dofter. Den finns där för bäraren och dem som kommer mycket nära men invaderar på intet sätt det gemensamma doftutrymmet. La Pausa är sammantaget en mycket bärbar doft för dagsbruk och den passar året om.

Jämfört med Chanels No 19 Poudre är La Pausa mer aromatiskt träig, fokuserar på irisroten och är i mitt tycke unisex. No 19 Poudre fokuserar på irisblomman med jasmin och lätt apelsinblomma som fond över en välmodulerad myskbas. Poudre är en i mitt tycke mycket mer feminin doft. Båda är lätta i projektionen men håller ofragementerade på bärarens hud. Båda har en plats i samma parfymgarderob då de är sinsemellen så pass olika, iristemat till trots.

In english:
Aromatic cedar with citrus and a light orrisroth is my general impression of Chanel's bright iris fragrance No. 28 La Pausa, which was created by Jacques Polge 2007 as part of the Les Exclusifs line. Smells more like in the Aqua di Gio way than iris as in Chanel No. 19 Poudre, is Mr. Parfumistas spontaneous comment and I can partly agree with that impression. The iris in La Pausa is more of the irisroot than the flower but a light and somehow cleande up ozonic root, without the typical carroteffect. Later in the drydown of the scent the iris gives a discreet, almost not detectable note of lipstick. Cedarwood gives a nice tune of a just sharpened pencil and the cedar is very well balanced, not peppery or too sharp and dominant. Citrus gives a freshness and lift to the fragrance while the iris balances and adds a casual elegance. Finally in the clean woody base of No. 28 La Pausa there is also a moderately green and light vetiver as an anchor for the composition.

No. 28 La Pausa is in my opinion, a classic contemporary scent that also fit men as well. It is very discreet and tuned down and therefore perfectly fits the scentofobic office. Many reviewers of La Pausa complain of poor durability during the day but this is not the case for me. La Pausa is still unfragmented on my skin more than twelve hours after application but the projection is low during the whole dry down, which is also the idea behind many modern fragrances. The fragrance is there for the wearer and those who come very close but by no means invades the common scentspace. To summon up: La Pausa is a wearable fragrance for daily use and it fits all year around.

Compared to Chanel No. 19 Poudre La Pausa is more of a aromatic, woody blend that  focuses on a sort of cleaned up iris root and La Pausa is in my opinion unisex. No. 19 Poudre focuses on the iris flower supported by jasmine and a light orange flower interacting over a well modulated white muskbase. Poudre is in my opinion definitly a more feminine scent. Both fragrances are light in the projection, but the longevity is good as they are both remaining unfragemented no me after wearing them for a whole day. Both have a place in the same fragrance wardrobe as they represents so very different interpretations of the iristheme.
Rating: 4

Noter: Fruktiga noter, iris, blomnoter, vetiver, träiga noter/ Notes: Fruity notes, iris, floral notes, vetiver, woody notes

torsdag 9 augusti 2012

Ramón Monegal - Umbra

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

Umbra the vetiverinterpretation by Ramón Monegal starts like a green, clean vetiver with some deep almost citruslike notes. The citruslike is not the usual light, sparkling one, and I suspect the impression emerges from the combination of other notes. Peppery notes are also emerging as the topnotes evolves, but more as supporters and not as distinct as the ginger-peppery effect in Prada Infusion d'Vetiver. The opening ackord is the part of Umbra that reminds me most of other vetivers but soon Umbra finds its own path: Umbra gets sweeter then the common vetiverfragrance and almost resiny, balmy, floral as it developes. Probably the geranium contributes to the green floral feeling. The dry down is exciting and unusual, the vetiver doesn't stands out like in the most straightforward light, rooty green vetivers.The vetivernote is restrained of the sweet, powdery tonka been in the base and despite the tonka sweetness. there is an aura of green, refreshing, moist, woody sweetness in Umbra. In the base a beautiful mossy note, similar to the one in Mon Patchouly also emerges and is present during the rest of the extended dry down of Umbra.

In lightness and texture Umbra reminds me about Prada Infusion d'Vetiver and Mona di Orio Les Nombres d'Or Vetyver but both these fragrances are more of straight forward, contemporary representants of the classical rooty, grassy vetiver fragrance. The vetiver that comes to my mind with some similarities with Umbra later stages is Andy Tauers smooth and gentle Vetiver Dance but this is more a cosy vanillia-vetiver where Umbra is more of an elegant chypre. Both fragrances has also in comman that they follows their own interesting path in the world of vetiver. The general impression of Umbra can be summeraized as the picture and smell of the coolness of the mossy, forest floor under high pines a summerday.

Even if classified as unisex I precieve Umbra as the most feminine vetiver I have sniffed so far. Umbra is definitly a vetiver that I will be delighted to wear as I usually have some "problems" with the more sharp, rooty "manly" versions. Umbra appears to be so wellcrafted and well thought out compared to many other representatives of the genre which smells like variations of the same theme compared to Umbras individuality. Even if Umbra is somehow relaxing, it's engaging to follow what is going on and trying to figure out what's happening next, during the dry down of the fragrance.

Umbra is suitable both for office and for dressed-up casual, year around but wears very well in the summer. Heavy appliers beware: Strong in concentration as in the case of almost every RM fragrance, two - three spritzes lasts for long. Sillage is more than medium and longevity about 24h.

Rating: 5

Notes: Vetiver, oakmoss, black pepper, geranium, fir, tonka bean

måndag 6 augusti 2012

Ramón Monegal - Mon Patchouly

Picture: Cacao (Theobroma cacao), Photo: Luisovalles,
(cc)  Wikimedia commons, some rights reserved

The patchouli of the Ramón Monegal line, Mon Patchouly is not a variation of the earthy,woody, fresh, almost herbal theme of the note. Nor is it the other typical warm amber-patchouli variation. Mon Patchouly is a variation of the gourmand patchoulitheme in the tradition of Serge Lutens delisious Borneo 1834, but MP is a softer and more well-behaved interpretation.

Mon Patchouly starts with a scrumptious blast of cocapowder the note is dry in texture even if some sweetness is glimpsing through. There is also a whiff of an almost "men colognish note" but in a good way, not an "old mans scent" but something more elegant with amber. There is also a subdued flowery note with slight green almost moist facets, probably the moss. Even if vanilla isn't mentioned among the ingredients there is an accord in the middelnotes/early base that reminds me of the unsweet vanillapod note like in Montale Boisée Vanille blended with some dark ruhm similar to the vanilla-ruhm accords in L'Artisan Havana Vanille and Mona di Orio Les Nombres d'Or Vanille. As the MP dries down further in the base, the mossy note becomes clearer and more dominant, a sort of dark-green freshness is added to the ruhm-patchouli-ambra. The overall impression of the texture and style is something elegant as the original Chanel Coco to mention a recent example in the wake of the launch of the new Coco Noir.

Mon Patchouly is a delicious and comfortable scent in the gourmand style. On me the patchouli is not especially dominating, it's one of the prominent notes togther with amber and moss. I think its gourmand character makes it a perfect cold weatherscent and I will definitly re-test it in autumn-winter. Mon Patchouly is a perfect choice for evening wear and even if unisex I think it (despite the man cologne note) lean towards the feminine side. As many of Ramón Monegals fragrances, Mon Patchouly is very concentrated and just a few spritzes is quite enough, it's easy to overapplicate this one. The sillage is also extensive, the wearer will be noticed, but in a good way if using the right, minimal dose. Longevity 24h+.

Rating: 4+

Notes: Patchouli, olibanum, oakmoss, geranium, jasmine, amber

torsdag 2 augusti 2012

Top summerfragrances 2012

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)

Suddenly the bright and shining early summer month of June disappeared, the high summer month of July is over and sadly most of the summer is gone. Two weeks ago I also noticed the first signs of the late summer, the late evening suddenly was dark, not bright as in the beginning of the summer. One week ago the crickets started to play a true sign of the late summer. Fragrancewise I have worn just a few typical summerfragrances, most of the preferred ones up to day I enjoy the year around. Even if I almost sampling different fragrances and not have much time to wear my favourites, here they are for summer 2012:

Nuit Etoilée (Annick Goutal): Light herbal, slight smoky this one reminds me of a starry night in the asphaltjungle.

Cologne Friction (Parfums de Nicolaï): The ultimate, green, grassy, cologne for lazy summers. Perfect for vacation in the archipelago or just anywhere. And for looking at a game of tennis.
Corps et Ames Eau de Toilette Apaisante (Parfumerie Generale): A 1970s inspired chypre-light featuring the verbena note. An airy and bright interpretation of the original CeA Edp.

Rebel (Antonio Visconti): A soothing, refined patchouli with delicate notes of dark and dry chocolate.

Cristalle Edt (Chanel): There is (almost) nothing like this citrus-mossy classic when it's comes to summer casual chic.

Impossible Iris (Ramón Monegal): Year around elegant-chic. Has made a rapid career and is now among my most appreciated irises.

Rose Etoile de Hollande (Mona di Orio): Monas lovely rose is an olfactorial masterpiece is a multifacetted creation that reflects both the brightness and the dark sides of the rose.

Amoureuse (Parfums DelRae): Whith it's dark, almost decaying flowers blended with cardamon, Amoureuse is a beautiful gem suitable for alls seasons. Love it.

Ubar (Amouage): There is a golden shimmer surrounding the white flowers of this fine Amouage classic. Always right to wear in it's understated elegance, the quiet sister among Dia and Gold.

Black Oud (Montale): This classic dark rosy, leathery, patchuli oud becomes creamy in texture when worn in warm and humid weather. And never fails to attract compliments....