14 November 2012

Fall top 10 - Niche / Limited Distribution

Today is devoted to my fall top 10 for niche/limited ditribution perfumes. I don't strictly separate the niche "niche" from exclusives lines from historical brands like Christian Dior or Chanel which usually belong to mainstream. I included the Lutens in this top because of the limited availability of quite a few of the brand offerings.

And yes, there are five Serge Lutens releases in this top 10. What can I say? I love Lutens perfumes. And off we go!

Chêne (Serge Lutens) - what better season than fall to wear this strange and beautiful mix of dry dry woods, boozy sweet sap and inky oakmoss ? The whole tree is in the bottle ! Endearing. 

Chypre Rouge (Serge Lutens) - it is one of the least liked of the Lutens range (not by me mind you) but I don't understand why. This is probably one of the most Serge of the Lutens, with dry fruits, woods, strange smelling flower (jasmine), spices and aromatic herbs (the chypre part I think), and a patchouli/musk frame like no other. I tend to think of it as a younger brother of Féminité Du Bois. Try it and let the scent wrap you like you've never been. 

Féminité Du Bois (Serge Lutens) - any other of the four variations would do really, my favorite being Bois De Violette, but Féminité Du Bois is the mother of them all and redefined the woody genre. A masterpiece, paying tribute to both glorious cedar and the plummy chypre of Femme de Rochas, gorgeous in autumn, and wearable by everybody. 

Santal De Mysore (Serge Lutens) - besides Féminité Du Bois (which was branded Shiseido at its release time), this is my first encounter (1998) with a proper Serge Lutens perfume. I'm still deeply fond of to it to this day. I remember keeping the wax sample for weeks and sniffing it endlessly. What you will get is the entire range of spices and balsams available in the Lutens kingdom, a garden worth of roses on a creamy/milky/slightly smoky background of woods and of course sandalwood. Bottom line : this is almost my holy Grail. 

Portrait Of A Lady (Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle) - Frédéric Malle and Dominique Ropion revisited the classic rose-patchouli combo to great success. Slightly pugent at time, this is obviously meant to be worn during fall and winter. It ended in the fall section thanks to the patchouli, with its woody-musty-foresty undertones. 

APOM Pour Homme (Maison Francis Kurkdjian) - orange blossom for fall doesn't seem to be an obvious choice, but the creaminess of the flower mingles delightfully with cedar, a (fat) dollop of honey and incense. One of the rarest scent that works both as a personnal perfume and room scent, the candle is startingly good. 

La Myrrhe (Serge Lutens) - Aldehydes, a truckload of spices; a few creamy woods undertones and rubbery medicinal myhhr. Sounds strange but is actually the crown jewel of Lutens bell jars collection. As Gaia from The Non Blonde noted, the result is very different whether you dab or spray the perfume (aldehyde galore!). I go spraying, but just once. 

Tea For Two (L'Artisan Parfumeur) - spicy honeyed gingerbread enjoyed with black smoky tea (with a dash of low fat milk) and decidely very flowery tobacco note. Simple and comfortable. Sadly discontinued but still easy to find. 

Dzing (L'Artisan Parfumeur) - Dzing is Olivia Giacobetti attempt (it turns out to be a success, mind you) at an animalic perfume. Pile some hay, fur, a modernized idea of a barnyard and some leather, you'll get the idea. Once it settles on the skin it reveals very soft facets of suede and coumarin. I know some people who got addicted instantly to this juice. 

Eau Noire (Christian Dior) - This one has Francis Kurkdjian handwritting all over, bold and spiky, and sensuality has not been put aside. Very simple accord of the driest lavender ever known and the most gloriously syrupy spicy curried helichrysum. Whatever happens around (cedar & vanilla if you must know) is mere whispers to the duet sang by the two main material.

05 October 2012

Fall top 10 - Mainstream

I dash into the precarious exercise of the top 10 today. I chose to make two, one for the mainstream category and one the niche/limited ditribution category. Today I give you the mainstream top 10. In no particular order

Héritage (Guerlain) - because I like my patchouli smooth and dignified. Just a tad old-school which is always a plus in my book

Antaeus (Chanel) - a difficult choice betweene this guy and Egoiste (the original 1990 one), but Antaeus won because in the end it felt best suited for fall. Dessicated leather, oversized violet, mean clary sage, all rough edges.

Miss Dior (Christian Dior) - the 1947 one, now called Miss Dior Original. Like all great chypres from the good old days, Miss Dior is unisex, I think. Galbanum, oakmoss and patchouli, what's not to like ?

Black (Bvlgari) - let me introduce you to Guylimar, wonderful concoction of rubbery leather, mutant rose and smoky vanilla. Deadly weapon.

Gucci Pour Homme - Cedar chips galore, very 70s bombastic sillage fume, humanized by cumin (yes, a touch of BO) and made classy by iris. Wear brown and beige with it.

Minuit Noir (Lolita Lempicka) - liquorice and coffee were amped up in the flanker to achieve a great effect, combined with the very precise violet smell of the original. Wonderful.

Jicky (Guerlain) - you can't go wrong with Jicky. Period.

Bottega Veneta - Probably the best mainstream release from 2011. This one sits halfway between a fruity chypre and a soft suede. Fall in a bottle

Terre D'Hermès - if you can stomach the opening, go for it. This shape-shifter vetiver still feel interesting and new 6 years after it's release.

Fahrenheit Absolute (Christian Dior) - incense, myrrh, oud and the violet from the original Fahrenheit mingles into this molotov cocktail to wear on a day you're so full of life you could set fire to any heart along your way.

27 July 2012

Scorching City Vs L'Eau Froide

I'm currently testing L'Eau Froide by Serge Lutens as we've reached proper summer temperatures (29°C exactly). The freshness of the scent is totally mind blowing ! It actually feels icy cold on skin and stays cool for hours! I'm not a big fan of pine needles. Pity. But I do like incense quite a bit. It should receive a review soon enough.

Enjoy whatever ice cold drink you're having ! And don't forget to fan yourself.

Photo : Serge Lutens material, L'Eau Froide Ad.

24 July 2012

Diorella by Christian Dior

Dior est là ?

Sorry for the (bad) french pun, I couldn't resist.

Diorella was released in 1972 and composed by genius perfumer Edmond Roudnitska. Another perfume (Le Parfum De Thérese) Roudnitska composed for is wife is closely related to Diorella, but I don't know which one precedes the other.Le Parfum De Thérèse is available at Editions De Parfums Frédéric Malle.

To me Diorella is the lovechild of Cristalle and Eau Sauvage : good bones, good skin and brains. Considering the good genes of the parents, you expect it to deliver a quality experience, which it does aplenty.

The perfume unfolds first with a lemony/fruity/floral extravaganza, then expose a darker realm of dry woods, moss and musk. Lively and full to the brim. The usual notes given for Diorella are lemon, peach, basil, jasmine, vetiver, oakmoss and musk. Surprisingly modern in its current version, at its heart its still quite old school and I mean it in the best possible way.

Diorella has a reputation of being a difficult perfume with its overripe fruit effects, bordering garbagey, hence the bohemian chic associations you could find in the perfume litterature. Maybe that's me being french thus used to those notes linking the scent to the human skin, but I don't perceive Diorella's aroma as rotten at its core but instead beautifully fleshy. And everytime I think about Diorella, I believe this one could have been called Champagne too. One of the best Dior offering, totally unisex.

Diorella is not part of any exclusive line and is available everywhere Dior perfumes are sold.

Mandragore by Annick Goutal

Mandrake, really ? The witchcraft staple, its sinister reputation and hallucinogen properties ? The fetid smell of the plant ? This is oh so not Goutal's comfort zone! But with such notes as bergamot, mint, bitter orange peel, ginger, pepper, anise and mandrake powder, this one might be gentler than expected. And sure enough, on first snif you may say fairies (a la True Blood) nectar more than dark mage elixir.

I have been living with this odd perfume for two years now. I like the fact the juice is exactly not what the name suggest, I like the green blast you get in the first hour. I love anise, and get plenty in the fume, I like the way it stays close to the body but could be smelled all day (serious spraying required though), the intriguing mix of herbs,spice and citrus, I like the iris playing hide and seek, the pale woody drydown and the shadow it leaves on my clothes. It took me time to fully love Mandragore and now I will never be without it. Addicted, yes.

Speaking of addiction ... Green scent ... fairies... Absinthe, the green fairy ? Well you can indulge on Mandragore, it will not make you crazy, but I can't vouch for its bewitching quality!

Final thoughts, folklore related : any witch who may comes your way smelling this way would receive a warm welcome, any which way (I'd rather have a sorcerer myself. Oh well)

16 July 2012

Second Creed : Aventus

This is the second Creed I bought (the first one being Green Irish Tweed). I don't have much to say about it, I've worn it twice so far. I do like it a lot, to me it's a dad's smell, a very upscale one mind you, no cheap shaving cream.

Mercifully I seldom pick the pineapple note, I'm not a big fan of the fruit or the smell. I do pick the red fruit note as well as jasmine. It lasts a freakingly long time on me (and my clothes). I'm not entirely conviced it is worth the price paid but I have nothing to complain about for now. No compliment or snarky remark from anybody to report, I have no idea how the sillage fares.

I'll test drive Aventus this winter, and maybe I'll feel inspired to write a full review. As if necessary !

09 July 2012

Hermès Colognes - Urban style

I won't talk about Mr Ellena's work at Hermès because others have done it at length. But don't get me wrong, I do like quite a few of JCE creations, I just wanted today to talk about the (eau de) cologne offering from Hermès.

What I like about Hermès colognes, as opposed to their Jardins line, is the urban vibe you get from them. They're meant to be worn especially in the summer but would fit any weather really and obviously won't smell like an overheated sidewalk if you worried about the urban tag I put on them.I do think the 3 of them are more suited to the city life : modern, to the point, of high quality, long lasting (yes!) and "people-around-you-friendly". The Jardin is meant to remind you of certain places, whether you've been there or not, it's an escape escapade made juice in a bottle you'll indulge on.

Now on to the three scents

Eau De Gentiane Blanche
This is the least eau de cologne of the lot, because the basic structure of the eau is revamped in a truly strange and wonderful accord of angelica like material (the gentian I guess, but I know this is not your ordinary one, another tailor made material requested by JCE for this composition), raw vegetable and delicate soft musk. Sprayed heavily, the scent will linger for the whole day. This one is the most modern of the lot, with its white musks undertones

Eau De Pamplemousse Rose
Now that's some grapefruit ! Even more realistic than Pamplelune by Guerlain, the true beauty of this one is the long lasting tart pink grapefruit note, relieved by a wonderully fruity rose note. But it's not about juicy fruit, think vivid fruit rind and fresh restrained flower. A light musky note offers it's finishing velvet touch. Wonderful

Eau D'Orange Verte
And last but not least, the former Eau De Cologne Hermès now rechristened Eau D'Orange Verte, my favorite. To make a long story short, my mother would go through a 200ml jug of this stuff every summer,so I was basically raised on it. You could do worse. And to this day, I still can't get enough of this juice made of mint, green citrus, exotic fruit, moss and patchouli. The magic happens everytime I push the spray button. I wear it all the time, at any time. This one seems fleeting. At first it seems so but in fact it stays around you for 4-5 hours which is really good for an eau de cologne. Contains supposedly 70% of naturals, the formula required less than 10 tries and it is meant to be sprayed on clothes (it improves longevity greatly), no stains ! I know people who are so fond of this stuff they would practically drink it if they could. One cologne to rule them all. Well yes, period.

Hermès colognes are expensive, but believe me, they are worth twice the money asked. I didn't give my point of view on The Concentré versions because to me they are different beasts entirely. Well if you'll excuse me, I need to spray some more.