torsdag 27 februari 2014

L'Artisan Parfumeur - Quick impressions of some classic L'AP:s 2(2)

More impressions from my random L'Artisan samples sniffing. Today from the lighter fragrances department:

Picture: Thé pour un Été,
refreshing, retro jasmine
Photo: PR L'Artisan Parfumeur (c)
Coeur de Vetiver Sacré: A creation of Karine Vinchon Spehner from as late as 2010 which seems to have flopped as it would be discontinued if I have understand i right. Despite the name that indicate this is a vetiver dominated fragrance, the said note is discrete and interacting in a subtle and wellbalanced way with incense, spices, light fruity and woody notes. Calming and relaxing and a bit misunderstod IMO.

Thé pour un Été: A creation from the era of fresh perfumes, the 90s (1995), by Olivia Giacobetti. A refreshing jasminetea blend with some lemony sparkle and contrasted with a very light spicyness. TpuE has a certain retro feeling, when I smell it I immediately come to think of Catherine Deneuve in the movie Indochine from the colonial French Indochina. TpuE is gentler and doesn't get the smell as much of wet wipe that is common in many tea fragrances form the era, for example the iconic Bulgari Eau Parfumeé au Thé Vert. TpuE seems also to be a gentler forerunner to another jasmine-tea-spicy fragrance Dior Escale à Pondichéry.

Verte Violette: A bit strange 2001 violet creation by Anne Flipo. Starts smelling like Yves Saint Laurent Paris and after a while a note of water melon appears and adds an aquatic but also vegetal impression.When it alls calms down, a beautiful, sleek, violet flower note remains. In the same group as Annick Goutal La Violette which is (despite the name) greener and with a crispy candy feeling and Parfums de Nicolaï Violette in Love which is more fruity/sparkling.

To summon up: In the flood of all new releases, don't forget to look back and revaluate the old gems from the fragrance houses which has stood the test of time.

måndag 24 februari 2014

L'Artisan Parfumeur - Quick impressions of some classic L'AP:s 1(2)

Picture: One of the L'Artisans,
Drôle de Rose
Photo: PR L'Artisan Parfumeur (c)
After becoming disappointed with the new sub-line L'Explosions de Emotions from the old (one of the very first niche-houses, only Diptyque was earlier) reaible L'Artisan Parfumeur, I had to test/re-test some of my samples from the house to get my confidence back. Below some quick impressions of some classic L'Artisans from different genres.

Bois Farine: A 2003 Jean-Claude Ellena inspiration from an unusual tree in the Caribbian. Sweet, powdery, like flour, woody with some spices. The opening smells like peanutbutter. Delicious, mouthwatering and comforting (if properly dosed) to wear cold and grey days. Unfortunately Bois Farine now is discontinued, so it's time to stock up.

Voleur de Roses: Created by Michel Almairac as early as 1993 and it's a forerunner to the whole dark, earthy, moisty, dark, red rose and patchouli that I like so much. VdR is somehow the unpolished gem (ruby) of the genre the patchouli is dirtier and moistier, the red rose is darker and bolder than in the more polished followers such as Guerlain Rose Barbare, Juliette has A Gun Lady Vengeance, and Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady.

Drôle de Rose: A powdery, cosmetic, lemony, cherful, sunny take on the combined violet and pink rose theme, created by Olivia Giacobetti in 1996. Also a forerunner to fragrances such as Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose which more formal in appearance and with more pronounced violet than in DdR and Etat Libre d'Orange Putain des Palaces which is a dramatic, dark and dirty variation of violet-rose.

To be continued in the next post.

fredag 21 februari 2014

L'Artisan Parfumeur - Explosions D'Émotions 2 (2)

Today impressions of the two remaining Explosions D'Emotions.

Picture: Skin on Skin
Photo: PR L'Artisan Parfumeur (c)
Skin on Skin "a wanton embrace" also for this fragrance the marketing blurb is fitting. Skin on Skin embraces you with an obtrusive, chemical candynote which interplays with a sweet irisnote, passably dimmed with soft saffron somewhere in the middle of the fragrance and moved to a note similar to hairspray. A musky, smoky (probably the Whisky mentioned among the ingredients) suede is lurking in the background, contrasting the hairspray and the sweet  notes. As the fragrance is strong and shrill, one should be careful with application. Skin on Skin seems almost as sort of an experimental mockery of a great iris-suede as Histoires de Parfums Tubereuse 1 Capricieuse which, despite its name, foremost is an iris-suede with gourmand accords of cacao and saffron. Skin on Skin could also be one of the sketches to Duchaufours own L'Artisan creation Traverseé du Bosphore

Picture: Amour Nocturne
Photo: PR L'Artisan Parfumeur (c)
Amour Nocturne "the intimacy of the night" Amour Nocturne shocks with a loud and garish chemical note of cocos + milk chocolate like a liquid Bounty Bar. As it dries down to the middle- and basenotes, the scent softens and a milky accord infused  with some sweet candynotes contrasted with a dry burned (probably hints of the gunpowdernote), plastic slight flowery note (as in Parfumerie Generale Psychotrope but I like the latter much better)  dominates the fragrance until it's fading out about 24h after the initial application. After going through the jarring top notes, Amour Nocturne despite or maybe because of the burned, plastic  is quite pleasant and comforting to wear in a small dose. Just as with Skin on Skin: Beware to overapply this!

To sum it all up: Probably I'm too old school and doesen't understand anything from this avantgarde(?) creating: Probably I also have a too ironic mind because when sampling Explosions D'Émotions I almost suspect Bertrand Duchaufour for making fun of his public and the current exalting of niche, taking it too serious. After all, these fragrances are more expensive than the IMO overall much better L'Artisans in the regular line. Seems like he's taking the concept a famous name (the perfumer and brand) + nice bottle + an OK juice + some "exclusive" marketing chit-chat to the extreme. An interesting concept and the fragrances as such is very well worth sampling (thanks to Fragrance & Art for the samples) as a reflection of the state of niche today or just to find an unconventional and (in some phases of them if applied sparingly) comforting fragrance.

tisdag 18 februari 2014

L'Artisan Parfumeur - Explosions D'Émotions 1(2)

The Expolsions D'Émotions trio are fragrances signed Bertrand Duchaufour for L'Artisan Parfumeur that must have been created with the intention to provoke the smell of sense. The fragrances are wellcrafted and unconventional, and seems to be almost a sort of experimental fragrances ie nothing for daily wearing but something to stuck in and analyze a day staying at home. Explosions D'Émotions are bottled in a new stylish design of the L'Artisan bottles.

Picture: Déliria
Photo: PR L'Artisan Parfumeur (c)
Déliria "exhilaration of the senses" according to L'Artisan marketing blurb and that's true. Déliria starts with a note close to sweet pinapple (BD inspired from Jean Patou Colony?)contrasted with the dry, dirty, unaired ambernote that is present in one of my favorite ambers, L'Ombre Fauve from Parfumerie Générale. After the contrasting opening, Déliria proceeds in a bubblegum note close to the classical pink, swedish bubblegum namned Bugg. Then the sweet notes are more nondescript, its more of a candystore and later the fragrance softens, like the note of candyfloss. The candy notes are darker, deeper and better blended then the regular sweet candy fragrance, a more serious interpretation of this pink-sugary genre.

To be continued in the next post.....

torsdag 13 februari 2014

Etat Libre d'Orange - La Fine du Monde

Picture: A scene from the last phase of Ragnarök (1905)
Painting by Emil Doepler (1855-1922)
Who could imagine the Armageddon so quiet and undramatic, almost relaxing? I image chaos, horror and fear but this is not what is expressed in the latest Etat Libre d'Orange fragrance La Fin du Monde created by Quentin Bisch .

La Fin du Monde starts with an iris accord emphasize the rooty, carrot smell. But the carrot isn't raw, instead it's softer, like stewed carrot, an impression that I also get from Huitèime Art Naiviris but in the latter the stewed impression is more intense. After a while a smooth peppery, fizzy, spicy note come up, probably the pepper/cummin. The cummin seems to be a stripped down version, without the sweat (strange that the sweatish component is missing when thinking about the dramatic inspiration for La Fin du Monde). Then a torrid, slight burned note appears, a light interpretation of gunpowder. A sweet, a bit nutty note, reminding me of a almondcake glimpses by, contrasting in the dry, black lead-like accord. In the next stage a slight salty nuance appears and soon a mild popcornnote arrives. The popcorn is gentle and natural in style compared to the candied popcorn note in Miss Dior Cherie (original 2005 version). The composition is grounded in a light, very dry woody-resin base, with the soft gunpowdernote continuously present. The gunpowdernote is much more soft than in fragrances such as Mona di Orio Les Nombres d'Or Ambre or in Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige.

The overall impression of La Fine du Monde is a connection to another recent gunpowdery-slight gourmand interpreation: Amour Nocturne by L'Artisan Parfumeur (an analyze will be published in the coming weeks), but it seems as the names are interchanged.La Fin du Monde is soft, quiet and balanced compared to the much stronger, louder and chaotic Amour Nocturne, which seems to be an experimental and provoking fragrance. La Fin du Monde on the other hand, is very wearable, pleasant and officefriendly, a fragrance many could like, not as extreme as the earlier ELd'O fragrances. When wearing La Fin du Monde, I spontaneously received very positive remarks from when it comes to perfume fastidious Mr Parfumista. La Fin du Monde has close sillage and good longevity, about 12h.

Rating: 4+

Notes: Popocorn, carrot seeds, cumin, sesame, black pepper, freesia, vetiver, sandalwood, ambrette, iris, styrax and gunpowder.

Thanks to Riktig Parfym for the sample.

måndag 10 februari 2014

Pierre Balmain - Extatic

Pictures: All pictures above and below:
PR Pierre Balmain (c)
Extatic is the latest release from the venerable house of Pierre Balmain. Extatic is created by Emelie Copperman.

Extatic starts with soft flowery, slight fruity notes accompanied by a light woody smell which induces a note that almost smells like something I image as light tobaccoflowers. There is nothing of the annoying candy like sweetness of many mainstream fragrance, the sweetness is well balanced. The rest of the flowery impression is nondescript and there is hard to sort out any of the individual notes. The woody notes are soft, with the musky cashmeran dominating probably infused with some clean patchouli. Overall a pleasant, polite, easy to wear and non-extatic fragrance, without own identity or specific features. Extatic is suitable both for day and night and it's not a heavy partyfragrance. The longevity is very good as often with woody-musky fragrances, more then 12h.

To be honest I'm a bit confused about Extatic. It's IMO a let down from the good releases of Balmain the latest decade such as the very well reformulated Ivoire and Vent Vert as well as the contemporary creations Ambre Gris and Carbone. I hope this is a temporary incident and not a trend reversal in the Balmain perfumeline. This doesn't mean there is something wrong with Extatic, quite the contrary, it's a good mainstream perfume that many will like. The issue is that I have higher expectations on Balmain than just to be likable and pleasing.

Those who like easy to wear, pleasant, contemporary, woody florals will probably like Extatic. I can't put my nose on which fragrances Extatic resembles but I smell the likes when walking around in the public. Anyway, Extatic is worth trying, remember my medium rated perfume could be your top rated :-)

Rating: 3

Notes: Rose, osmanthus, pear, orchid, iris, jasmine, amyris, sandalwood, cashmeran, leather

torsdag 6 februari 2014

Parfums MDCI - Nuit Andalouse

Picture: Innenhof der Alhambra, 1892Painting by Adolf Seel (1829-1907)
Wikimedia commons
Nuit Andalouse is the other of the two latest launches from Parfums MDCI, Cuir Garamante was reviewed in the prior post. Nuit Andalouse is created by the risning star in the perfumers Pantheon: ISIPCA graduated perfumer Cecile Zarokian which created (together with Daniel Maurel) the epic Epic Woman for Amouage when she still was a trainee at Robertet!

Nuit Andalouse starts with a sort of stripped down, elegant gardenia and cool violet, green notes contrasted with a zesty orange. This is not the usual big white floral burst which is the start of  most orange, this is more elegant and muted. As Nuit Andalouse developes, the flowery notes gets sweeter and deeper, but not as sweet and liqueur-ish as in By Kilian Sweet Redemption, this is a natural, floral, nectar sweetness. A restrained and almost dry in texture musk is present in during the whole drydown, contributing with a slight hay-ish impression. The whole impression of Nuit Andalouse is that of a transparant but not at all cologne-ish orangeblossom fragrance.
Picture: The Deluxe falcons of Parfums MDCI,
there is also a plain version
Photo: PR Parfums MDCI (c)
Nuit Andalouse is a beautiful, well-made, elegant and very wearable orangeblossom fragrance. Maybe not that innovative or avantgarde but a high-quality, classic fragrance in a style that is timeless. Perfect to wear year around, both for office and dressed up. This is a fragrance that really cheers up a grey, chilly winterday and blooms a hot summerday. Sillage is medium and longevity for 12h+.

Those who like lovely and uplifting orangeblossoms such as L'Artisan Parfumeurs Seville à l'Aube, Robert Piguet Blossom, Maison Francis Kurkdjian APOM Femme and Oscar de la Renta Granada will probably also like Nuit Anadalouse.

Rating: 4

Updated rating November 2015: 5 

After more wearings since the review this one has grown and I have to adjust the rating as it's a very versatile and beautiful orangeblossom with excellent longevity, on fabric for weeks.

Notes: Orange, violet, green notes, gardenia, ylang-ylang, rose, orange blossom, vanilla, sandalwood, musk, amyl salicylate (light flower/cutted gras musk note)

PS: Parfums MDCI offers generous 12 ml bottles in the samplesets on their website 

måndag 3 februari 2014

Parfums MDCI - Cuir Garamante

Picture: Foggara (water chanell) in the
old Garamantes territory in Libya
Photo: Tagelmoust (cc) Wikipedia,
some rights reserved 
Parfums MDCI is a french niche house, founded by Claude Marchal, which offers high quality fragrances in collaboration with both experienced established perfumers and the coming perfumer generation.Cuir Garamante is one of the two latest launches from the house. The fragrance is created by Richard Ibanez, an experinted senior perfumer, creator of for example the special, before its time, dark, woody Sonia Rykiel Le Parfum.

Cuir Garamante is inspired by the ancient saharian berbers who was constructors of water channels for irrigaton and therefore dominated the traderoute from Tchad to the Mediterranean ca 500 B.C. As inspired from the desert, Cuir Garamante starts very dry, hot and spicy. Pepper, saffron and the likes creates a fizzy almost transparant, warm, desert-windy impression.As CG deepens there is also a pleasant slight sweaty note, like a soft touch of cummin glimpsing through. The oud is of the smoother variation and it's contributing with a dark, luxury, boozy, woody impression in the same way as in Puredistance Black.On my skin the rose in Cuir Gramante is not detectable as it is when testing it on the scentstripe, probably as the rose is light.On the teststripe the oud-rose (medium pink rose) smells very balanced and restrained, this is not the traditional rose-saffran-oud combo of  Montale and the crowd of followers of this, in those days avantgarde house. The Cuir Garamante rose-oud combo is more of (even if the fragrances are different in style) the gentle second oud genaration rose-oud accord, as in Parfums de Nicolaï Rose Oud. In the basenotes the boozy quality is still present, but in a slighter sweeter context than earlier, probably the resins, smooth sandalwood and discrete, dry vanilla (pod) notes, absolutely not the gourmand, dessert vanilla. In the basenotes there is also a fine leather, which interacts seamless with the other notes.
Picture: Cuir Garamante in Parfums MDCI Deluxe Falcon
There is also a plain version bottle
Photo: PR Parfums MDCI (c) 
Cuir Garamante is marketed towards men but I think it's an unisex creation which leans to the masculine side, contrary to Puredistance Black which is a more feminine unisex IMO. But this is just nuances, one have to test on oneself. Cuir Garamante is suitable both for office and dressed up occasions, for all seasons except for the warmest summerdays. The longevity is about a day.

Cuir Garamante is a well crafted fragence, well balanced and made of high quality ingredients. It's not original or avantgarde, an increasing number of niche lines includes a fragrance of this dark-woody- spicy- oud- booze-leather character (even if emphasizing a bit different among the notes) in their catalouge. Beside a spicier version of Puredistance Black, Cuir Garamante also resembles Robert Piguet Casbah (the dry spices) and partly Huitième Art Monsieur (the niche standard woody impression).

Rating:. 5

Notes: Pink pepper, nutmeg, saffron, rose, oud, papyrus, leather, vanilla, labdanum, frankincense, sandalwood