Archive for February 2015

30 Days of Scent Returns! Day Ten – Grand Amour by Annick Goutal   1 comment

Today, I am wearing Grand Amour by Annick Goutal.  It’s from a decant sent to me by a friend…and I’m not sure if it is the EDP or the EDT.

Fragrantica.com lists the main accords of Grand Amour as white floral, floral, green, rose, fresh spicy, and animalic.  Their description of this scent says:

“…The composition is based on three accords: floral, amber, and musk. In the floral bouquet, lily, honeysuckle, and hyacinth lead the way to Turkish rose, French jasmine, and Indian mimosa, with a touch of fruity notes. Oriental accord (amber) is represented by the notes of amber, vanilla and myrrh. In the base the sensual musk united with precious rare balsams create a very long trace…”

Grand Amour was created in 1997, and the story is that it was designed to represent Goutal’s love for her husband, who brought her a bouquet of white flowers every week.  It is meant to be a fragrance that “…is like her, goes with her, and speaks of love because “love is everything…””

As you’ll notice, Fragrantica’s description of the scent and their list of its accords don’t match 100%.  I think, in this case, it’s okay, though – Grand Amour’s complexity is actually somewhere between the two.  The floral accord leans more toward white floral (as I’d expect), but it’s not completely one thing or the other, and there’s definitely a powdery feeling to Grand Amour that I usually get from iris-based scents…I’m thinking it’s the hyacinth, but am not entirely sure.  The amber accord is noticeable even from the start, and it isn’t overwhelming; it adds a depth to the scent that wouldn’t be there otherwise.  The musk, though…I don’t know if it just isn’t prominent or if, for some reason, Grand Amour isn’t doing the usual thing musks do for me.  I can barely sense it at all.

On my skin, Grand Amour is hyacinth (iris?) and lily with a touch of something that feels like a blend of honeysuckle and magnolia.  There’s an underlay of powder that gives it a slightly old-fashioned feel, but not so old-fashioned that it feels out of place today, and the amber bolsters the entire thing.

I’m not honestly sure how I feel about Grand Amour.  I know I like it better at this time of year than I did in the summer – it was almost cloying in the humidity – but I can’t decide if it is a keeper or not.  I’ve worn it half a dozen times so far, and I’ll probably have to wear it at least a half dozen more before I know if I want it to remain in the rotation.  I’m interested to find out how other people get along with Grand Amour – love it, hate it, indifferent?

If you’ve tried it, let me know!

30 Days of Scent Returns! Day Nine – Orange Sanguine by Atelier Cologne   1 comment

Today, I am wearing Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue by Atelier Cologne.  I received it as a free sample when purchasing something else from Sephora.

(For anyone who doesn’t know, this is how the name of the company is pronounced: Atelier.)

Fragrantica.com lists the main accords of Orange Sanguine as citrus, sweet, fruity, aromatic, and fresh spicy.  They have this to say about this fragrance:

“…Orange Sanguine, which belongs to the collection Absolue Cologne, is a refreshing and energetic fragrance of fresh fruits laid on a sensual, oriental base. It contains notes of red orange, bitter orange, jasmine, geranium from South Africa, amber, tonka bean and sandalwood…”

The nose behind Orange Sanguine is Ralf Schwieger, who also designed a number of fragrances for Hermès, including Eau de Merveilles which I’ve been meaning to try since realizing that I liked L’Ambre des Merveilles last year.  Guess I need to find an Hermès counter near me…or someone who has one who wants to send me a sample.

*hint hint*

A word about the manufacturer, Atelier Cologne: they are noted to be the first perfume house dedicated solely to colognes, which they call “genuine pure perfume” and note as traditionally made with citruses.  As I love citrus (I know, you’re shocked), I am definitely going to be checking out their other scents…perhaps through one of their lovely sample packs.

(Incidentally, you can get any of their postcard samples for $3/each.)

So, this scent is meant to evoke sun, and heat, and (of course) oranges on the air, and it came with a lovely postcard of what appears to be the South of France.  I can picture it in those surroundings actually – sea air, baking rocks, and citrus fruit.  In fact, I’m wondering what would happen if I layered it with a salty beachy scent like Sel Marin or one of CB I Hate Perfume’s marine scents.

Atelier recommends layering Orange Sanguine with Vanille Insensée, and I have a sample pack that includes both colognes at home.  I’ll probably try this at some point, depending on how Vanille Insensée works on me.

On me, Orange Sanguine is orange, layered with orange peel, layered with blood orange.  There’s a hint of the jasmine, which I love, and just the slightest bit of sandalwood.  Having worn this scent before, I know the sandalwood will last the longest and still be with me at the end of the day and so will the orange peel, which means it will go from citrus and fruit to slightly bitter and aromatic.  In fact, it triggers thoughts of whether Orange Sanguine is what orange bitters would be if made into a scent…and since I am a fan of bitters this can only be a good thing.

I wonder if there’s a Campari cologne out there…

Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue by Atelier Cologne

30 Days of Scent Returns! Day Eight – Joyful by Escada   3 comments

Today, I am wearing Joyful eau de parfum by Escada.  It’s the final scent from the perfume sampler pack I purchased from Sephora.

Fragrantica.com lists the main accords of Joyful as floral, ozonic, aquatic, fruity, and fresh.  Their description of this fragrance says:

“…Escada Joyful is a bright floral scent, created with the aim to enhance your mood. The top notes are fruity aromas of black currant, melon and mandarin. The heart is floral and includes accords of peony, and magnolia, as well as nectarine and violet leaf. The base is made from honey and sandalwood…”

The sample I have is an 1mL vial with dabber, which means I got to dab this scent in lots of different places rather than spraying it on.  It’s delicate – six hours after putting it on, I have to actively sniff for it – and I’m wondering how many sprays from a full-sized bottle I will need to make it last all day?  Oh, did I mention that I really really want a full-sized bottle?  Well, I do because I am loving this fragrance.

On my skin, Joyful is mostly peony with some melon and nectarine undertones, and a honey finish.  I get no citrus at all from it, and no sandalwood, but it doesn’t really matter – Joyful is working well with my skin chemistry, and it doesn’t have to be anything other than what it already is.

I wish I could find information on the nose who designed Joyful (and I probably could if I had more than a few minutes to search), because I now really want to try some of their other scents.  The Escada site was not helpful in this regard – they noted a team of “master perfumers”, but the only name I could find was that of the model used in the campaign.  If anyone knows (I’m looking at you, Style 704!), I’d love the information so I can go a’hunting.

At $25 for the rollerball on Sephora, I might just pick this up myself rather than adding it to my wishlist and hoping someone gifts it to me.

Escada’s Joyful eau de parfum

30 Days of Scent Returns! Day Seven – Japanese Cherry Blossom by Bath and Body Works   5 comments

Today, I am wearing Japanese Cherry Blossom by Bath and Body Works.  Specifically, I have layered the scented Ultra Shea Body Cream and the Fine Fragrance Mist.  I was actually gifted these products for Christmas by one of my swimming clients.

Fragrantica.com lists the main accords of this scent as floral, woody, fruity, musky, and fresh.  Their description of Japanese Cherry Blossom says:

“…Japanese Cherry Blossom by Bath and Body Works is a Floral fragrance for women. Top notes are plum, pear and apple; middle notes are mimosa, tuberose, lily, kyoto rose petals and japanese cherry blossom; base notes are sandalwood, amber, patchouli, cinnamon, himalayan cedar, musk, vanilla and oakmoss…”

Before I get into describing this scent, I’d like to say a word or two about scented lotions.   Now, I am a lotion user, mostly in the winter, but also after swimming, and I believe the purpose of body lotion is to moisturize the skin rather than to deliver fragrance.  In fact, if you’d asked me last year, I’d have sworn by all that is holy that I’d lose my mind if I received another scented body lotion as a gift, and cried out for some ordinary Lubriderm.  For Christmas 2013, I was given Modern Muse body lotion and was bitterly disappointed despite loving that scent.

And then, this year I discovered layering a scented lotion with perfume of the same scent, and became hooked.  Specifically, I asked Santa to bring me Sensuous Nude, and he brought the eau de parfum spray and the body veil…and one cold day I decided to try them together.  It was amazing – my skin was moisturized and I received compliments on my fragrance.  Then I tried it with Modern Muse with the same results.

I’m still not completely sold on scented lotion as anything other than a fragrance delivery system though – I think I’ve smelt one too many women drowning in sweet pea or vanilla sugar something-or-other.  So, I’ll use it layered with a perfume, but give me my unscented Lubriderm or Eucerin for après-swim moisturizing.

So – Japanese Cherry Blossom.  It’s actually more complicated than I thought it would be – the florals are most prominent, then the cedar and sandalwood, and there’s a fruity thing going on in the background.  Fragrantica is more on target with the accords than the description – I don’t get fruit in the top notes at all, but I’d definitely describe this scent as floral and woody.  There’s a hint of musk, but it doesn’t try to leap out and eat my face.

On my skin, Japanese Cherry Blossom is, of course, cherry blossom, then tuberose and something jasmine-like, with cedar and sandalwood.  It’s not your typical flower-fruit B&BW fragrance; everything blends together in harmony without any significant outliers.  I’d definitely recommend it (but try before you buy!), and at $27.00 the duo I use is a steal.

Japanese Cherry Blossom by Bath and Body Works Fine Fragrance Mist

Japanese Cherry Blossom by Bath and Body Works Ultra Shea Body Cream

30 Days of Scent Returns! Day Six – Première by Gucci   4 comments

Yesterday, I wore Première eau de parfum by Gucci.  It was part of a perfume sampler pack I bought from Sephora. Fragrantica.com lists the main accords as white floral, citrus, woody, musky, and fresh spicy.  Their description of Première is a little over the top, so I’ll quote the one from Gucci’s site:

Inspired by timeless Hollywood glamour, our Gucci Première fragrance is the perfect blend of power and sensuality.
  • a sophisticated woody musky fragrance
  • top notes of bergamot and blackberry
  • heart notes of orange blossom and musk
  • base notes of patchouli and sandalwood…”

A little too-much “This is the SCENT for YOU”, but like I said, Fragrantica’s was way worse.”

A brief aside, here: I have no idea who comes up with descriptions of fragrances, but I’ve found them to be inaccurate for me 60-70% of the time.  Obviously, the noses of various companies are noting things I can’t, but skin chemistry means that how a scent works is extremely personal; yet another reason to remind people to try before they buy.  Seriously, people – get a sampler, or a decant, or have someone in the store spray you from the tester, but don’t buy something based on how it smells on someone else.  And never ever buy fragrance as a gift for someone unless they’ve told you specifically what they want.  That’s what wishlists are for, right?
Anyway.  I’m not sure what Gucci means by “timeless Hollywood glamour”, or “power and sensuality”, but it is the perfect blend for me, and so I don’t really care too much what they claim inspired it.  However, Première does not appear to be a powerhouse – maybe it was just the cold, but it was delicate and clung to the skin rather than projecting itself outward.  I wasn’t actually expecting delicacy from a Gucci scent, so it was surprising.
On my skin, Première was a balance of white floral and citrus with maybe a little sandalwood.  I didn’t get any patchouli, which makes me happy, and no musk.  I know I’m going to have to try it again during one of our dog-day summers to see if heat and humidity make a difference but, right now, I am thinking this is a scent I’d like to own in a full-sized bottle.

Première by Gucci

30 Days of Scent Returns! Day Five – White Woods by Clean   3 comments

I find it interesting, in light of a comment I made over at Style 704, that today I chose to wear a fragrance by Clean.  Specifically, I am wearing White Woods eau de parfum.  It was part of a three piece sampler from Clean.

Fragrantica.com lists the main accords of this scent as woody, sweet, musky, citrus, and floral.  Their description of White Woods says:

“…Designed to capture the calm, peaceful feeling of encountering a wooded clearing, the fragrance weaves a cozy blanket of citrus, sweetness, woody notes and a dash of pepper…The top notes of White Woods are bergamot, mandarin orange and black pepper; middle notes are magnolia, lily and vanilla orchid; base notes are sandalwood, praline, musk, amber and woody notes…”

White Woods is the first woody musk in the Clean fragrance line, and it was designed by nose Harry Fremont who also did CK One and Estée Lauder’s Modern Muse.  In fact, I like Modern Muse so much that I hinted I wanted to try some of the other fragrances designed by Fremont, and this wasn’t actually one of the ones that caught my eye…mostly because it is by Clean, and I tend to categorize them as the leading company making sure that people smell like laundry detergent.

(Could someone please explain the fascination companies seem to have with making people smell “fresh” by dousing them in green or blue liquid?  What’s wrong with taking a shower?)

On my skin, White Woods is sandalwood and pepper with something else under it – mahogany, maybe?  Walnut?  It’s definitely a wood of some sort – it reminds me of opening the drawers of an antique dresser and smelling along the dovetails.  As a plus, it doesn’t clash with chlorine scent, and that’s especially important for me, given how often I swim.  Today, I think I put too much on – it’s strong, and right up in my nasal passages, but usually one or two swipes with the rollerball does it just fine.

White Woods is not what I expected from Clean.  To start, it isn’t blue or green.  And yes, that’s an oversimplification of Clean’s fragrance line, but those who have spent any time with it will understand where I’m going – White Woods is less of a person freshener and more of an actual fragrance than some of the other scents in the same line.  The description of it, though…I don’t know how anyone came up with what they did, other than “woody” and possibly “pepper”.  It’s billed as a unisex scent, and I can see that – there are things about it that will appeal to a variety of people.  But please, readers – try before you buy.  If you don’t like White Woods, you really won’t like White Woods.  There’s nothing shrinking, or violet, about this scent.

(Although – could we please lose the word “unisex”?  It has connotations.)

30 Days of Scent Returns! Day Four – Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf   1 comment

Yesterday, I wore Flowerbomb eau de parfum by Viktor & Rolf.  It was part of a perfume sampler pack I bought from Sephora.

Fragrantica.com lists the main accords as floral, patchouli, white floral, green, and citrus.  Their description of the scent says:

“…Top notes tingle with fresh and sweet accords of bergamot and green tea.

A heart is floral and opulent with intensive, sweet and pure Sambac jasmine, seductive Centifolia rose, freesia and Cattleya orchid. Musk and patchouli in a base wrap us with an oriental scent, while its milky and powdery notes gently fondle our skin…

I don’t even know where to begin with this one.  To start, I’d already worn Flowerbomb when I first got the sampler pack and I hated it.  I told a friend of mine that it smelt like the place musk goes to die.  A bit strong, sure, but you all know I don’t mince words.  I decided to try it again on the off-chance that, perhaps, it mixed with the ever-present chlorine smell on my skin to form something noxious, and that it might be different this time around.

Ummm…NO.  Just no.  Patchouli and musk do NOT work on me, and Flowerbomb isn’t anything like its description on Fragrantica if it comes anywhere near me.  I get no floral notes from it at all, nor citrus, nor anything resembling a green accord.  It’s patchouli, patchouli, patchouli, MUSK to the point of slapping me in the face and asking what the fuck I was thinking to try it a second time.  Have I not learned anything???

Of course, like all scents, what doesn’t work on me works really well on other people – my friend at Style 704 can wear it without a problem and, judging by the positive reviews out there AND the fact that it is a best-seller, there are a lot of people out there for whom it is a wonderful scent.  I get it – I really do.  Problem is, though, that my own view of it will be forever tainted by the fact that it tried to attack me.  Seriously.  It tried to bite my face.

I’ve not given up on Viktor & Rolf entirely – they’ve got an aquatic scent I really want to try.  However, I’ll be staying away from anything combining the words “flower” and “bomb” in the future.

Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf