Archive for June, 2009

Lancome Hypnose Senses Review

June 24, 2009

Hypnose Senses launches here in the UK next week. It is the first flanker to Hypnose, which originally launched in 2005, and is intended to be a “playful sensual fragrance to be worn as a second skin”. Aimed at the younger consumer, the Floral Chypre takes the current trends for Pink Peppercorns and Osmanthus and runs with it. I haven’t smelled the original Hypnose, so can’t comment in regards to a comparison with it.

Hypnose SensesSenses opens with a Peppery, Lemony Rose and some sweetness from Vanilla, as well as a powderiness mixed with the citrus.
As it progresses to the heart, the pepper falls away and is replaced with the sweet (and oily) floral Osmanthus note, which is very light, nowhere near as potent to me as that of Flora by Gucci, and is really overtaken by the Rose. To me, it’s a Rose-potent version of YSL Elle. The Rose is a combination of Tea Rose and Lemony Geranium – the Rose I’m used to smelling on the breeze from the neighbours garden. Benzoin is also apparent, but it’s transparent and not really a standout note. You have to really sniff to pick it up.
The drydown is a super clean Patchouli (no earth or dirt, thank you very much) with the salty Musk-Amber that I recognise as the base in YSL’s Elle and Stella. Many of the recent launches from the L’Oreal owned brands have this note now. Senses isn’t particularly powerful after the somewhat shortlived heart – I guess this could be what Lancome mean by “second skin”. The overall picture is a very soft, very girly fragrance, that smells like a higher quality version of Ghost Cherish – but no good for guys.

Top: Mandarin, Pink Peppercorns, Honey
Middle: Osmanthus, Rose
Base: Patchouli, Cistus Labdanum, Benzoin, Tonka Bean, Vanilla


Paul Smith Story Review

June 22, 2009

Paul Smith Story is the fourth offering from Paul Smith, after Men (clean soapy Iris-Vetiver), Extreme (Transparent Woody-Musk), and London (Mint-Jam weirdness). Inter Parfums, who own the license to Paul Smith, said Story was “too intellectual”, which would explain why it doesn’t sell as well as the others did (London is discontinued), but it does have it’s fans. The bottle is the shape of a book, the font on the box apparently came from Smith’s old typewriter, and the box opens out like a book too.

Paul Smith StoryStory doesn’t smell of books or ink. Instead, it opens with a tart, green Bergamot and what the marketing machine called “Ivy Leaves”, though to me it smells more like Nettles, and a little bit of Citron in the background, which adds a little sting to the nettle.
Then a mentholated, almost camphor-like “fresh” Anise note appears. Clear, crisp and cool, with a very quiet and transparent Jasmine – which is present but very much see through – slightly buttery and dirty, develops quickly to the Vetiver. Smoky, salty, creamy and nutty all at once. There is Cedar, very light, with what I can only describe as “almost” the pencil shavings smell from Gucci pour Homme, a dash of Green Tea and Violet Leaf (but not the grating synthetic Violet leaf that I hate). It’s mostly a light clear Vetiver in the drydown – which is achieved surprisingly quickly. If you need a Vetiver that isn’t Guerlain’s, Story is a fantastic modernized alternative with impressive sillage and longevity (10 hours and it’s still on the back of my hand).

Top: Grapefruit, Bergamot, Green Ivy Accord
Middle: Rosy notes, Jasmine
Base: Vetiver, Cedarwood, Musk, Amber

Guerlain Cologne du 68 Review

June 20, 2009

Cologne du 68 was launched in 2006, it takes it’s name from 68 Champs-Elysées, Guerlain’s Paris address. Taking inspiration from the address, perfumer Sophia Labbé decided to base it around 68 different notes. It could be a confused mess, but thankfully it is a masterful composition that suggests hints of several Guerlain creations. It became widely available last year at Guerlain counters.

Cologne du 6868 opens with a lush citrus mixture, Tangerine and Clementine are the standouts, with Lemon. It is powdery, mossy, reminiscent of Praline, and simultaneously warm and cold. 68 is inviting and intoxicating, and makes you want to keep sniffing to see where it goes – which is every which way. Most important to note about 68 is that it is powdery. If you are not a fan of powder, it is probably not for you.
Sweet and (shock) powdery Heliotrope, Violet, Berries and Iris (a cold Iris, like Dior Homme) remind of L’Heure Bleue, as well as the more recent My Insolence and the hints of spice create a sweetness that is familiar to me from Kenzo Power. The Vanilla that Guerlain became famous for is present for most of the duration of the fragrance. Sometimes, there is a green, watery vegetable like note, which reminds me of cutting peppers/Capsicum. On other occasions, there is a prominent Tonka with Violet, Iris and a truffle or mushroom note, surrounded by lightly Anisic Almond Blossom, as well as Neroli.
Cologne du 68 doesn’t settle anywhere too long, except it’s Praline centric drydown, which is supported by the light resins. Yet it remains lightly powdery at all times.
It’s ideal as a summer cologne if you are looking for something with more depth than a traditional Eau de Cologne, like the classic 4711.

Notes (taken from the bottle): Bergamot, Green Tangerine, Lemon, Clementine, Cedrat, Orange, Blood Orange, Lime, Grapefruit Leaf, Basil, Fennel, Star Anise, Lavender, Bay Laurel, Cypress, Elemi, Thyme, Myrtle, Bigarade Petitgrain, Tangerine Petitgrain, Lemon Tree Petitgrain, Pear, Violet Leaf, Ivy Leaf, Gentian, Sap, Blackcurrant, Freesia, Lily of the Valley, Hazelnut Leaf, Cyclamen, Cardamom, Coriander, Black Pepper, Pink Peppercorn, Nutmeg, Ginger, Frangipani, Magnolia Flower, Orange Blossom, Peony, Rose, Carnation, Ylang-Ylang, Lychee, Fig, Blackberry, Immortelle, Mastic, Opoponax, Amber, Benzoin, Vanilla, Cistus Labdanum, Heliotrope, Iris, Tonka, Sage, Musk, Patchouli, Agarwood, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Vegetal musk, Praline, Myrrh, Lichen

Thierry Mugler Alien Review

June 17, 2009

Alien, released in 2005, was Thierry Mugler’s first mainstream Feminine launch that wasn’t related to Angel. It is intended to smell familiar but strange and foreign hence, Alien. The first thing that captured me about it was the stunning purple bottle, the second thing was the scent itself.

alienAn almost harsh opening blasts out of the nozzle. Huge, bright and radiant – it is simultaneously dry and woodsy, dirty and animalic (from the Jasmine), and bright and luscious. It also smells somewhat hot and fluorescent.
After about a half hour on the skin, it transforms into a soft Jasmine petal, pretty, delicate, and surprising – especially when compared to the blatant harsh top notes.
It settles down to an Ambery warmth, retaining the soft “wood” note (which smells woody, but is quite clearly synthetic – this is Cashmeran, IFF’s woody, musky and spicy aromachemical), with a quitened Jasmine and slightly salty feeling musk. The topnotes can scare many away from Alien, but she’s so soft and warm once you get to know her that you can’t help but fall in love with her. It is so unlike anything I’ve ever smelled before and is most definitely a ‘future-scent’.

Top: Sambac Jasmine
Middle: Cashmeran, Solar Note
Base: White Amber

Armani Attitude Extreme Review

June 14, 2009

Armani’s newest release, Attitude Extreme is a flanker to 2007’s Attitude. Attitude is possibly Armani’s least successful mainstream launch.
Attitude is almost entirely Coffee and Patchouli. The Patchouli is very woody, but not particularly earthy. It smells very similar to Mugler’s Ice*Men, but even more potent and without the frothy icy quality.

Attitude ExtremeExtreme is instantly sweeter, almost chocolatey, the Coffee note is not as potent as the original. The Patchouli note is also softer than in the original. There is also a somewhat smoky note up top, possibly a suggestion of the Benzoin, but it never comes to anything before the smokiness disappears.
The heart and drydown is almost entirely the Amber note, the same icing-sugar Amber that has featured recently in Only the Brave and Ultrared. It is powdery and soft. While the Amber note is prominent up close, Extreme doesn’t project very well. The Amber is backed up by a quiet Coffee/wood accord, which is much more noticeable on card than it is on skin. It is much closer to Armani Code than it is Attitude.

Top: Lemon, Anise, Cardamom
Middle: Cedar, Coffee, Benzoin
Base: Amber, Patchouli

Hermes Eau D’Orange Verte Review

June 7, 2009

Over at Basenotes, it was a Citrus themed Sniff n Speak Saturday. I took the opportunity to wear and review Hermes classic Eau de Cologne, created in 1979.

Eau D'Orange VerteAt first it smells like peeling an Orange, for a couple of seconds, and then there is another shortlived Orange juice note. Citronella features prominently in the topnotes, with what smells like Lemon, and a little bit of Lime as well.
Some kind of Mango sorbet comes centre stage for the heart of the fragrance, still with hints of the citrus, and the Oakmoss from the base showing through.
The drydown is soft, smoky, green Oakmoss – and not much else. The greatest thing about EdOV is that it is so bright and cheerful. The unfortunate thing is that it’s over so quickly, but that is the nature of an EdC, and nothing should stop you reapplying it.

Top: Orange, Mandarin, Lemon, Orange Blossom
Middle: Mint, Papaya, Mango
Base: Patchouli, Oakmoss