Archive for January, 2009

Joop! Thrill Reviews

January 29, 2009

I can’t say I’ve ever truly liked a Joop! fragrance for myself. Joop! Homme is far too commonplace for me, every other guy seems to have a bottle, and I find it pretty offensive – most guys that wear it overapply it, making the whole thing too much. Jump and Go are just more of the same ‘fresh’. However, I wasn’t going to rule out new scents before sniffing them. According to the press machine, “the scents aim to capture the excitement of an urban adventure by night”.

thrillmThe masculine smells like a combination of Gaultier’s Le Male and the original Joop! Homme. This is not difficult for me to imagine at all, the Perfumer must have been on a bus journey into Bristol town centre on a Saturday night. Those are both of the scents of an “urban” night out, and the mens room in a club will nearly always have a cloud of both by the doorway.
Thrill opens with an incredibly harsh Lavender note, which feels very cold. Also, there is a fermented Apple note in the top. It progresses to Lavender and Geranium with watery floral notes trying to break through, and feels very much like Le Male at this point of the fragrance.
The Vanilla and Amber sweetness of Joop! Homme becomes more pronounced towards the drydown – which is mostly a heavy sweet Vanilla on top of a Musky Wood note.

Top: Bergamot, Crisp Apple, Frozen Lavender
Middle: Cedarwood, Geranium
Base: Amber, Sandalwood, Vanilla

thrillfThe feminine opens with a burst of sweet but light Fruits. A bright Peach note is apparent and takes over the fragrance for a short while. There is something dark about the fragrance at this point too, so it doesn’t smell entirely girly and innocent, but is still very pretty.
The heart smells like Iris flowers, in a similar way to Bvlgari’s Omnia Amethyste. Very slightly Violet-y and powdery with a small floral bouquet supporting the Peach and Iris. The Peach note remains present throughout the heart, but before the Vanilla drydown appears there is a distracting acidic note.
It dries into a sugary sweet Vanilla and Musky Wood note, similar to the masculine but much softer.

Top: Bergamot, Dewy Leaves, Peach Juice
Middle: Iris, Lily of the Valley
Base: Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Sandalwood

I prefer the feminine over the masculine, mostly because of the associations with Le Male and Joop! Homme, but also because the feminine is really quite pretty


Sean John I AM KING Review

January 25, 2009

Sean John’s first offerings, Unforgivable and Unforgivable Woman, didn’t excite me terribly. The feminine is perfectly nice, but the masculine annoyed my nose. I AM KING is supposed to be a ‘unique masculine freshness’ (lifted from the overly camp website). I love the idea that we need another fresh fragrance!

iamkingThe scent opens with Orange peel. It’s not just orange though, there is Tangerine as well! It smells convincing for roughly 10 seconds then smells like a “faked” and oddly synthetic Mandarin. If you are looking for an Orange scent, then Hermes has got that covered with the much more effective and convincing Concentrée and Eau D’Orange Verte. I don’t get any of the listed ‘Berry’, Imperial French (what?) or otherwise.
The heart is essentially the same Mandarin on top of the odd, citrus and milky smelling musky-aquatic note I get from both Boss Pure and Fahrenheit 32. Either of those gives the same effect but much more pronounced.
The base is slightly salty, I assume from the naming of Vetiver in the note listing that’s what I’m smelling, with a very light woods note, and the Mandarin is still present even though the scent itself is barely perceptible by this point. If you want a better salty base, go for Beyond Paradise or Bvlgari Aqva/Aqva Marine. A good effort? Not really. We’ve seen the same thing hundreds of times since Acqua di Gio. “I AM MEDIOCRE”.

Top: Tangerine Zest, Orange, Cranberry, Imperial French Berry
Middle: Key Lime Pie, Lemon Creme
Base: Labdanum, Cedar, Vetiver, Sandalwood Essences

3 Recent Feminines – Mini Reviews

January 22, 2009

Last week saw the first new releases of the year in my store. I wasn’t particularly drawn to any of the new feminines. None-the-less, I felt the need to sniff them!

brithfBritney Spears Hidden Fantasy: The flanker resembles the original in this case. It’s essentially Fantasy with the rough cotton candy note removed. A relatively polite fruity-floral of no discernable interest, aside from the fruits are more tropical smelling than sugary. Drydown is creamy and woodsy, with a fruit cocktail dessert – straight from the tin.
Top: Grapefruit Tree Blossom, Sweet Orange, Tangerine, Verbena
Middle: Sambac Jasmine, Star Gazer Lillies, Clove
Base: Vanilla Bean, Amber, Jacaranda Wood, Fluid Sandalwood Accord

kyliecKylie Minogue Couture: Kylie’s releases have mostly sugary sweet messes – Showtime was a strawberry jam oddball and the less said about Sweet Darling the better. This is probably her most grown-up release so far, that said, why is someone who isn’t really a fashion designer using Couture for a name? For a brief moment in the top-notes, it smells like a slightly sweet Flower by Kenzo. Then a strange citrus note takes us into distinct “Kylie territory” – sugary floral. However this is much lighter than the other fragrances bearing her name – think icing sugar not cane sugar. Reminds me of a sweet I ate as a child, but can’t really remember what it was or when. Into the heart it feels like Insolence would smell if it had taken sleeping pills, a quiet (but louder than the rest of the fragrance) Violet-Berry-Vanilla-Musk accord. Dries into a Vanilla-Musk-Woody scent.
Top: Amarena Cherry, Lemon Flower, Violet
Middle: Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Passionflower
Base: Musk, Vanilla Sorbet, White Cedarwood

lopLacoste Love of Pink: Last years Touch of Pink flanker (Dream) smelled of cherry drop sweets. This years limited edition flanker has a very short-lived fruity topnote, which turns into a cheap-smelling sugary Musk really quickly and stays there. Wish it smelled as good as the ad looks, rather than frosted and fuzzy like the bottle.
Top: Blood Orange, Passion fruit, Citron
Middle: Pink Magnolia, Quince Blossom, Stephanotis
Base: White cedar, Musk, Vanilla

Comme Des Garcons 2MAN Review

January 20, 2009

2Man is the most beautiful fragrance that I own. It doesn’t get me many compliments, but I wear it for it’s beauty. It’s likely that this is my Holy Grail, but I still want to keep searching and exploring. The tagline is “A worker, a man who loves his work”, I honestly can’t figure out what sort of worker this would suit. But I suppose that’s for me to ponder.

cdg2mThe opening is complex and interesting – warm and sweet, lightly spiced, earthy and woodsy with smoke. There’s a lot going on in the first few minutes, and it gives the impression of fragrant woods being burned in a fireplace.
The heart notes create a distinct image in my mind of a big aged wooden chest, that you open and get a strong ‘whiff’ from the wood. Inside the chest is where the owner keeps their Incense. This to me is the similarity that is often noted between Gucci pour Homme and CdG 2Man – except the wooden box in 2Man is made of Mahogany, rather than Cedar.
This is when the Incense is removed from the chest and is started burning. The earthy Vetiver note is still present, along with the sweet smoke. Eventually, the Vetiver disappears and the Incense extinguishes, leaving a lingering trail of the sweet incense already in the air, without the smoke now. This is the stage that I enjoy most. I’ve read many complaints about the longevity of the fragrance, but find that simply applying an extra spray to the same position increases it dramatically and I can usually still smell it at least 9 hours after applying.

Top: Cumin, Nutmeg, Kumquat, Fresh Crinkly Mint
Middle: Saffron Flowers, Vetiver Roots, Iris
Base: Mahogany, White Smoke, Incense, Leather

Comme Des Garcons 3 Review

January 19, 2009

Comme des Garcons 3 is, according to it’s advertising “an imaginary flower: the flower you want it to be, the flower in your dreams. A new rose, incandescent, electric, opalescent.” Sounds great right? I thought so too. It just surprises me that it’s not a normal floral bouquet fragrance, ala Paris.

cdg3What I smell on the opening is a strange, sweet sweaty note. The note I usually associate with sweat is Cumin, which isn’t present here according to the notes I’ve seen. It’s quite strange, but I’m pleased it doesn’t last too long. 3 smells as though it has been built on top of the spicy ‘CdG Parfum’, but with a loud enough sweet citric note that it almost blocks it out and makes it quite different.
The heart note is Cardamom with Pepper on top of a bright fuzzy Cedar and slightly balmy note. This is where the odd flower is living. It smells of flowers, but not of a particular flower. I’d like to see this imaginary flower, it seems psychedelic to me. Before it reaches the drydown, a distinctly ‘perfumey’ smell appears for a short while. It returns to the sweet flower smell, before turning into dried petals, with sweet rubber, on top of the Cedar and Gaiac.

Top: Mandarin, Magnolia Leaf, Basil, Gingko Leaf, Blackcurrant Leaf, Red Peppercorn
Middle: Angelica Root, Cardamom, Mace, Rose Oxide, Black Rose Leaf, Freesia Leaves, Jasmine Sambac, Immortelle, Grains of Paradise
Base: Cedar, Sandalwood, Gaiac, Vetiver, Patchouli, Birch Essence, Olibanum, Amber

cdghmAnother Comme des Garcons fragrance is evidently inspired by 3. The limited edition H&M which was released along with a clothing range. When first sprayed, H&M smells like “deep heat”, the stuff that you put on sports injuries, and is more tart and acidic citrus than 3, with a different rubber and gin note. The drydown is grey feeling Cedar with a tangy lemon citrus – it also brings to mind rubbery petals with pine wood. H&M is fun and if you can get a steal on it, go for it.

Top: Bergamot, Mandarin, Szwechan Pepper
Middle: Coriander, Frankincense, Juniper
Base: Cedar, Patchouli, Pine Essence, Labdanum

Comme Des Garcons 2 Review

January 17, 2009

Comme des Garcons 2 was the first fragrance I smelled that I thought was just a bit, well, odd. I bought it on the spot because I longed to understand it. As soon as I got home, and found Ink in the notes, the whole thing made sense.

cdg22 opens with a blast of nose tingling Aldehydes, not at all like the fatty aldehydes used in No5 or White Linen, with bright fruity notes. A slight sugar note lingers for a few seconds, then the smell is of a fruit cocktail – but not overly sweet like many fruity florals are. The Magnolia note is very prominent to me, too, and it smells almost feminine for a while.
The heart and base notes are basically Ink. 2 is meant to smell of ‘Sumi Ink’. If Sumi Ink smells like this, I’d like to be painted with it. But it’s definitely Inky. If you don’t think Ink has a smell, draw a big ball with a biro on some paper and sniff it. If you imagine that and add an almost Banana-y smell, you’ll have a good idea of the heart of 2.
It dries into a warm Amber, with a soft powdery quality, which is hidden behind the ink note.
Ink is probably the defining character of the fragrance. It’s all over it, as though a picture has been drawn or painted and then a bottle of ink has spilled all over the picture, wiped away, and left it’s hue all over the original picture.

Top: New Aldehydes, Mandarin, Angelica Root
Middle:  Cade, Maté Absolute, Cumin, Magnolia, Folia Absolute, Floral Notes
Base: Patchouli, Labdanum, Incense, Ink, Amber, Cedarwood, Vetiver

Comme Des Garcons Eau de Parfum Review

January 17, 2009
Eau de Parfum was the original Comme des Garcons fragrance, launched in 1994. The ad-line was “A perfume that works like a medicine and behaves like a drug.” I agree with the behaving like a drug part, I can’t stop sniffing the stuff whenever I wear it. What I love about the CdG fragrances is that they really create imagery when you smell them – many designer scents don’t, simply achieving ‘nice smells’.

cdgparfum1Eau de Parfum opens with a strong blast of sweet spices, it’s almost dry. There is also a note that smells “sticky” to me behind the spicy opening – lots of Nutmeg with Geranium, with the other spices as a background. What first struck me about the fragrance was the distinct feeling of calm it creates. It relaxes me. The image it evokes is an old Herbalist’s store, the medicines all smelling beautiful and a warm glow from the gas lamps. Imagine the smell of all the spicy things from a store like ‘Lush’, and I think you’d get an idea.
The heart of the fragrance is where the pronounced Pepper note appears – the Pepper performs for about 20 minutes, and then the scent subsides into a sweet spicy floral, reminding me of Opium (the feminine) and Obsession (the masculine). A powdery dry note is also around here.
The drydown maintains the image of spicy flowers, but here is where the Cinnamon note makes it’s presence known. It gets stronger the longer it remains on the skin. Behind the Cinnamon is honey, almost syrupy. The image that comes to mind is of an apple pie, but without the apples!
I think that there is something special about this fragrance. It really is out of the ordinary.

Top: Nutmeg, Clove, Cardamom, Cut Hay
Middle: Geranium, Cedar, Coriander, Rose, Black Pepper
Base: Labdanum, Amber, Honey, Styrax, Cinnamon Bark Oil, Sandalwood

Gucci by Gucci pour Homme – Review

January 17, 2009

I had high hopes for the newest Gucci fragrance. I’m a huge fan of Gucci pour Homme, and the feminines, Envy (sparkling green notes), Rush (fruits on steroids) and Gucci by Gucci (dark and 80’s feeling). Gucci by Gucci pour Homme is a ridiculous name – I get that they are establishing the brand across male and female but it just seems a bit OTT. I really like the lid on the bottle. It gives me the same satisfaction as pulling the plug on a bath full of water.

The opening is sweet and green. Similar to dunhill Black, I find the top note very hard to describe other than ‘green’. It’s also the same as the topnote from Lacoste Elegance (but without the chocolate) and has a similarity to D&G The One. All under license to P&G…
The heart is the best part. It’s slight spicy, warm notes shine, and the bitter Violet leaf note is softer than in Narcisso Rodriguez for Men, and really very pleasant.
The base isn’t long lasting at all. Transparent woody notes, some light musk, and with the tiniest hint of “something” salty.
It’s perfectly ‘nice’ and well-behaved, not at all overpowering. Gucci by Gucci pour Homme is mild-mannered with poor longevity.

Top: Bergamot, Cypress, Calone, Black Pepper
Middle: Juniper, Violet Leaves, Jasmine, Nutmeg
Base: Patchouli, Cedar, Amyris Wood, Tobacco Notes, Incense-Leather Accord, Ambery Notes

The Offenders of ’08 – Mini Reviews (Ladies)

January 8, 2009

Several feminines have been released this past year and only a few were sufficiently interesting to me. The flankers of flankers, the Poison Elixirs, are fantastic variations on the theme. The following (among many) I did not enjoy at all.

Marc Jacobs Daisy EdP – The original, EdT, annoyed me. I loved the cutesy lid, with it’s rubbery Daisies. I wanted to like the perfume. I wanted it to smell like Daisy perfumes we used to make as kids, mashing up the daisies in water with petals from other flowers (also known as ‘not terribly successful experiments’). Unfortunately, liking the packaging isn’t a good enough reason to like this generic fragrance. Could the EdP improve on the letdown that was the EdT? No. Banana Milkshake and the cheap soaps that were sold in the chemist by our house when we were kids. Should evoke good memories, but instead grates on me.

Diesel Fuel for Life Unlimited – Fruity Musk. Not as good or original as Fuel for Life.

Christina Aguilera Inspire – Perhaps it could do with some inspiration. A dull fruity floral for dull girls.

Kelly Brook Vivacious – Like opening a bag of Haribo starmix, there could be some promise here. Kelly said she wanted a glamorous and sophisticated perfume. That should make a change, I thought. Maybe this time there’ll be more than 3 “fried eggs” in the bag. But I always seem to feel let down by celebuscents. The fragrance smells so sweet and sickly that your teeth would probably rot if you wore it. And the starmix didn’t have any fried eggs for me.

Kate Moss Velvet Hour – Steals it’s marketing from Armani Code, and it’s name from L’Heure Bleue. Bland Floral Musk. It has no taste or much of an interesting smell.

Givenchy Ange ou Demon EdT – Powdery Cough syrup. At least the EdP has a slightly enjoyable bubblegum note.

The Offenders of ’08 – Mini Reviews (Mens)

January 8, 2009

I’ve listed and reviewed my favourite fragrances from 2008, and I realized that I don’t really pan anything at all. So here are the Male fragrances released this year that I didn’t like.

Calvin Klein Euphoria Intense – Supposedly has an Oud note, smells more like an aquatic mixed with “fruit salad” sweets.

Dolce & Gabanna The One for Men – Smells like a cheap drug store brand deodorant to me – I don’t find it interesting at all. The best part, the tobacco drydown, isn’t worth the wait to me.

Boss Pure – Oh joy, another “fresh” aquatic. Milky smelling in it’s topnotes, but isn’t particularly briny or salty, ideas that would hold my interest some more.

Emporio Armani Diamonds – Fizzy Cedar wood and Musk. I’m sorry, I just plain don’t like you.

Paco Rabanne 1 Million – Oranges coated in icing with a wimpy Suede note. Makes me wretch. Should be marketed to women. Cool bottle, though.

Givenchy Play – Synthetic feeling Citrus-Musk. And not synthetic in that cool Comme des Garcons “it does smell like a garage” way. The intense version is better – it has more Coffee Wood and Tonka. But saying that the intense is better is like saying a cold is better than the flu.