måndag 28 april 2014

Van Cleef & Arpels - Un Air de First

Picture: Jasminum sambac 'Grand Duke of Tuscany'
Photo: Scott Zona (cc) some rights reserved, Wikimedia Commons
Un Air de First is a new interpretation by perfumer Nathalie Gracia-Cetto to celebrate the 35th anniversery of the first Van Cleef & Arpels fragence, the classic First created by Jean-Claude Ellena.

Un Air de First is a proper name for this fragrance, it is airier and cleaner than the original during the whole developement of the fragrance. It starts aldehydic, flowery, green but the flowers are fruity and bright compared to the soapy and heavier flowers of First. I also pervieve the flowers of Un Air de First as perdominantly clean and white (even the rose is white) wheras Firsts flowers are heavier and with a higher degree of yellow flowers. Pretty soon in the drydown, a note that almost smells like fresh tobacco appears in  Un Air de First. Galbanum is als glimpsing but not as noticable as in First. Later on the tobacco is lit and a clean note of cigarettesmoke appears accompanying the jasmine. The notemix is not at all dirty as in Etat Libre d'Orange Jasmine et Cigarettes but it's not as dry and subtle as in M.Micallef Royal Vintage, it's more round and fruity. Un Air de First continues to dry down in a lipsticky, aldehydic flowery manner and is underscored by a musky slight woody base.

Picture. Un Air de First
Photo: PR Van Cleef & Arpels (c)
Un Air de First has succeded to perserve the spirit of the original, just as Balmain with the new interpretation of Ivoire where the new version is fruitier and brighter than the original. The fact that the spirit of First is perserved is also proved by Mr Parfumistas comments about a " much too ladylike scent". I think Un Air de First is sort of contemporary ladylike and as it's very strong, one have to be careful with application, it is not airy=light. The sillage is great and as also the longevity, about 24h.

Rating: 3+

Notes: Galbanum, Peach, Fruity Notes, Jasmine, Rose, Green Notes, Vetiver, White Musk

torsdag 24 april 2014

By Kilian - Imperial Tea

Picture: Flower close up of Jasminum officinale
Photo: B.traeger (cc) 
some rights reserved, Wikimedia Commons
Imperial Tea is the other of the two latest releases in the By Kilian Asian Tales Collection, a collection with transparent, elegant and relaxing fragrances of high quality ingredients. Even if delicate in style, the Asian Tales fragrances have good lastingpower and sillage to be modern, light compositions. The Asian Tales line IMO is especially good for spring and summer. Imperial Tea is created by Claice Becker with the intention to recreate the olfactive impression of  a freshly brewed cup of exquisite jasmine tea.

Imperial Tea starts with a beautiful, very natural smelling jasmine, which is sparkling, light and uplifiting. After a while a contrasting almost green a bit tart, chalky note appears which remainds me of the smell in the oyster colored Jugendstyled bathroom of my grandmother. This note, is also present for a while in By Kilian Playing with The Devil and just a tad denser also in Vanille Tonka from Parfums de Nicolaï. When Imperial Tea dries down, it is obvious that  the jasmine is not as clean as the initial impression. In the middlenotes the animalic undertone of jasmine appears, contrasting the cleaner notes just as the chalky note persist. The teanote of Imperial Tea is subtle and just accompaning the jasmine. It is a light, gentle, white teanote, like silver tip tea and there is absolutely non of the for many teafragrances typical harsh, wet wipe note. The teanote of Imperial Tea is the best subtle teanote that I have smelled in perfume so far. In the basenotes, Imperial Tea becames darker in its tonality but the wellbalanced jasmine, tea, green chalky, slight animalic combo still persists.

Picture Bai Hao Yin Zhen tea leaves (white tea)
Photo: lateasquirrel (cc) some rights reserved, Wikipedia Commons
Imperial Tea is perfect for sipping white tea in a blooming jasmine bower a warm early summer day. It's a casual chic fragrance, perfect for daytime wear and is also very suitable for office. Compared to the other By Kilian which feature jasmine, Love and Tears, Imperial Tea is more minimalistic and less flowery in style. Both fragrances are classied as unisex and to my nose Love and Tears leaning more to the feminine side than Imperial Tea which is positioned in the middle but also slight more feminine. Longevity is for a day, if freely applied, the sillage is close, a true wristsniffer. This is a must have for summer :-)

Rating: 5

Notes: Jasmine, tea

måndag 21 april 2014

By Kilian - Sacred Wood

Picture: Santalum Album in Hyderabad
Photo: J.M Garg (cc) some rights reserved,
Wikimedia Commons
Sandalwood perfumes are a tricky fragrance cathegory for me. The iconic  Guerlain Samsara is too bold for me (even if my friend Fragrancefanatic have some anosmic problems with it), the heavy sandalwood + curry(?) Serge Lutens Santal de Mysore which is the only fragrance so far that has caused me an allergic reaction, Parfums Frederic Malle Dries van Noten is a bit too sweet and almondcookie like too remind me of the real wood. Etro Sandalo (old version) is good but maybe a bit too dense. And so one could go on... Until now, when I have found my ideal sandalwood (so far): By Kilian Sacred Wood from the Asian Tales Collection, as most Kilians created by Calice Becker. CB is well known for her excellent floral interpretations but apparently she is also a champion of woods. As a composition Sacred Wood is built around the olfactive impression of Mysore Sandalwood. This sandalwood is prohibited to use because of over-exploitation and a similar accord has been  reconstituted in Sacred Wood.

Sacred Wood starts with delicious sparkling, transparent sandalwood. The cocosaccent in the sandalwood is distinct in the operning and is almost flowery and reminicent of the cocoslike note in tubereuse. Soon there is also a tart, slight, fizzy but in the same time smooth and milky green note contrasting the sandalwood. The milky green note reminds me of fig, not a listed note but the effect is similar. The sandalwood, tart milky fig combination persists during the whole dry down of Sacred Wood but as longer the fragrance dries down the more prominent the sandalwood is. In the later basenotes, the impression is of solid, warm sandalwood.

Picture: Sacred Wood By Kilian
Photo: PR By Kilian (c) 
Sacred Wood somehow reminds me of a woody Annick Goutal Ninféo Mio and is just as this dark green.figgy  fragrance, a perfect companion for summer. Even if transparent in texture, Sacred Wood is a powerful fragrance that lasts for almost 24h and has a medium sillage. Its warmth makes it also nice to wear during the colder month. Sacred Wood is suitable both for work and festive occasions, an elegant,  sandalwood in a contemporary but in the same time timeless interpretation.

Rating: 5

Notes: Sandalwood oil, milk, wood, spices

torsdag 17 april 2014

Fragrances for Easter

Picture: Easter postcard early 20th century
Wikipeda Commons
During the years my Easterfragrances mostly have been from the following cathegories: Incense, gourmand or green. This year therefore I'll feature one favorite from each category that will fit for Easter in some sense.

Passage d'Enfer (L'Artisan Parfumeur): The well balanced incensenote combined with an elegant white lily gives me associations of a cathedral in Easter. Rays of springlight flowing through the high, gotic windows and the voices from the choir is rises towards the gotic arches.

Imperial Tea (ByKilian):Technically this is of course not a gourmand but as I've a bit stomach ache and less appetite than usual, nothing really gourmand attracts me at the moment. It does however this refreshing and calming jasminetea fragrance. Review will follow next week.

Déjà de Printemps (Oriza L. Legrand): What could be more springlike green than the crisp and fresh leaves of springtime bulbflowers, fresh grass and glimpses of Lily of the Vally. Déjà de Printemps captures a just blooming springgarden perfectly.

Happy Easter!

måndag 14 april 2014

A reminder about Mohur....

Photo; Mr Parfumista (c)
It seems as when I reviewed the beautiful Mohur Extrait from Neela Vermiere in september last year, it was not yet widely released. The broader launch was some weeks ago at Esxence 2014, information from Lucas on Chemist in a Bottle, read his very well written report from the event here.

Mohur Extrait is my favorite from Neela and I was reminded of its dark, rosy, velvet, golden, purple revelation when trying the airy, silk, silver, purple rose from Parfumerie Générale, Isparta 26 lately. Mohur Extrait could be a perfect companion in the coming Easter, especially on the serene and sad Good Friday as the fragrance is a calming and perfect for the contemplative mood. Here is the link to the full review of  Mohur Extrait.

fredag 11 april 2014

Maria Candida Gentile - Burlesque

Picture: Perfumer Maria Candida Gentile
started to create her own rosewater as a little girl.
Photo: This cute photo of Maria is published on her website
(c) Maria Candida Gentile
The initial impression of Burlesque is like a candied iris accord, enhanced by dark, balsamic notes. There are also swirls of a light incense which performs in an almost sweet woody accord, for a while this part smells like wood from a juniper bush. Burlesque smehow reminds me of a balanced and non-excessive L'Artisan Explotions D'Emontions Skin on SkinLater on, there is a light cosmetic note shining through in Burlesque, combined with a touch of gunpowder. There is something that reminds me a bit of a clean interpreation of Etat Libre d'Orange Putain des Palaces. The longer in the drydown, the more the beautiful blended patchoulinote comes forward. The patchouli is warm, smooth a bit sweet and almost light herbal. There are absoluetly no harsh or dusty impression from the patchouli. Burlesque is my favorite from the three tested from the Exclusive Collection, very pleasant and in the same time intresting to wear during a whole workday. As a perfume the sillage is close, a real wristsniffer where interesting things going on. Longevity about a day. 

Rating: 5

Notes: Blood orange, iris, rose, patchouli, incense

Thanks to Fragance & Art for the sample to test 

onsdag 9 april 2014

Maria Candida Gentile - Lady Day

Picture: Billie Holiday (1915-1959),
Photo: PR  (Getty) (c)
Lady Day starts intriguing with a cold, dry, cold flower (gardenia) complemented with almost tarry, leathery notes. As Lady Day dries down the gardenia comes forward, the composition becomes warmer and almost balsamic. From the middle to the base Lady Day reminds me of a gentler and less sweet version of the early 2000nd Bertrand Duchaufour creation for Lalique Flora Bella. As I like Flora Bella, Lady Day is also a very nice acquaintance. Just as Serge Lutens Une Voix Noire, Lady Day is a tribute to Billie Holiday and I think both fragrances are appropriate as such; Lady Day mirrors the positive sides of Billies life symbolized by the characteristic gardenia worn by her, Une Voix Noire the darker sides with the decaying interpretation of the flower.

I can image Lady Day as a perfect companion warm and humid summerevenings in the tropics but also for the dark nights of August up here in the North. Medium longevity, lasts for a workingday, and close sillage as this is an extrait.

Rating: 4

Notes: Galbanum, gardenia, peru balsam

Thanks to Fragance & Art for the sample to test 

måndag 7 april 2014

Maria Candida Gentile - Luberon

Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)
Lately I've tested some fragrances from Maria Candida Gentile, an Italian perfumer who's creations I really appreciate, see my reviews of some of the earlier releases ExultatHanburyBarry LyndonCinabreSideris. This week I'll write about my impressions of three fragrances from the Exclusive Collection and starts with the lavender beauty Luberon.

Luberon is inspired of the lavenderfields in the Provencale region with the same name. Trying it, I can imagine cycling around the lavendelfields a sunny summerday  inhaling the wonderful herbal-flowery scent. Luberon starts with the most natural smelling lavenderaccord, reminicent of the lanvender gold standard in the genre, Caldey Island Lavendel (swe). After a while tha lavender blend with other notes and becomes almost chalky-oily, a bit similar to a light petrolnote, maybe the minty leaves creates this effect together with the lavender. The rose nor the woody note is noticable as a separate notes, it's the beautiful lavender which dominates during the whole drydown. The longevity is very good for a lavenderfragrance, it lasts for a whole day performing outdoor activities, which also is the right setting for Luberon. Where Caldey Island Lavendel is musky in the base, Luberon is of a drier, woodier character.

Rating: 4

Notes: Lavender, rose, mint, oakmoss, cedar

Thanks to Fragance & Art for the sample to test 

lördag 5 april 2014

Fragrance(s) of the week (14) 2014 - Kilian and more....

Picture: Kilian Hennessy,
the founder of  ByKilian
Photo: PR ByKilian (c)
Today I'm testing one of the new ByKilans from the Asian Tales collection: Sacred Wood. A great fragrance which I'll review when I have tried it a few more times. This week, I entered the Kilian-universe again, wearing the delicious honeyed tobacco Back to Black which has been neglected for too long. This made me think of one of my favorites flowers last summer, Water Caligraphy which is a fragrance that I have grown to love. See my updated review. The other floral favorites last summer was Annick Goutal Néroli (the discontinued Edt) and the perfect pink rose Rose Perfection by Robert Piguet. Now I'm longing for summer and the fragrance summer wardrobe.

PS: What a coincidence, the two "coverboys" of the perfume world, Pierre Guillaume and Kilian Hennessy in two entries in a row :-)

torsdag 3 april 2014

Parfumerie Générale - Isparta 26

Picture: Pierre Guillaume
Photo: PR Parfumerie Générale (c)

As almost always when reviewing something from Parfumerie Générale it's hard to resist publish a picture of the perfumer Pierre Guillaume himself :-)

But now over to todays subject, Pierres latest release, a beautiful dark rose named Isparta 26. Isparta is named after the turkish province which roses produces superior roseoils, featured in this fragrance and 26 as PG:s numbered collection now has reached that number of fragrances.

Just reading about the ingredients of Isparta makes me excited. I have to admit that I'm very fond of the rose-patchouli-ambroxan combination in fragrances such as Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance and Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady, and this accord, in Isparta combined with balsamic and animalic accords, makes me drool.

Isparta starts heavy but in the same time transparent and light, the rose is really purple, and the rosy smell is a bit tart and as a contrast it's surrounded by a not too sweet, jammy note. A clean, cold patchouli is also contrasting with a high and clear darkness, just as the night sky a starry night. As Isparta dries down it becomes a bit warmer, even if it remains in the cold spectrum, with balsamic and woody notes, among them a well balanced oud. The clean amber, the ambroxan is not as evident as in Portrait of a Lady, in Isparta it is handled with a lighter hand. In the basenote there is also a moisty, mossy note thar togeter with the tart, purple rose are contrasting the ambrox-oud combo. The mossy note together with the rose is what is left after 24h. The moss in this stage reminds me of the refreshing and uplifting mossy note of Parfumerie Générale Papyrus de Ciane.

Picture: Isparta, a dramatic, dark, purple rose
Photo: PR Parfumerie Générale (c)
I have read some comment that Isparta doesn't add anything new to the rosegenre. I have to strongly disagree as IMHO this is an unusual combination of the strong and intense but in the same time airy and light. In texture Isparta is just as an exquisite, purple silk veil with silverstitches and embroderies. That image makes me think of another beautiful purple rose, Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur Extrait, which seems to be Ispartas antithesis in the purple, rosy spectrum. Mohur is like a dense, smooth, purple silk velvet with golden stiches and embroderies as opposed to the light, transparent, sliver silk veil of Isparta. Even if these purples of course are not smelling the same, Mohur Extrait (which is more spicy and flowery than Isparta) somehow reminds me much more of Isparta than the more obvious (when reading about its notes) ambrox-rose-patchouli Portrait of a Lady. Just as Mohur, Isparta gives me images of a relaxed, life i luxury, somewhere in the East, during the time of Thousand and one nights.

Despite its light texture, Isparta 26  is strong in its concentration and one have to be careful when applying, too much and Isparta transforms to a sillagemonster. About four spritses is enough of Isparta to keep it within the limit of officetolerable. Sillage is great and longevity for days if more than the four spritses is applied :-)

Rating: 5

Notes: Red berries, rose, peru balsam, calamus, patchouli, olibanum, benzoin, oud, ambroxan, moss