BNTBTBB Dear John Review

July 17, 2009

Dear John is the first BNTBTBB fragrance I smelled. A friend of mine worked for Lush, and was wearing it on Christmas Eve last year at a get together. I thought it smelled good at the time, and it piqued my interest in the line, but it took me forever to order the sampler set. The problem with ordering that sample set is that I now really love some of their scents.

Dear JohnDear John opens on Cloves with Limes. And is nothing else at first- then some Coriander appears, and it creates some much needed warmth. Some Coffee comes along, with a hint of Pine. It is green and friendly. Cool to smell, but inviting.
An almost hazelnutty Vetiver note, as well as something I read as Lavender are present for the heart, alongside a potent Anisic note. The Anise is dense and camphoraceous, and nothing like the transparent Anise from Kenzoair. The Lime is incredibly persistent, which is strange because I always expect citrus notes to evaporate rapidly, especially natural versions of them.
Dries to a powdery, but vegetal Cedar, which smells very good. There aren’t many words to describe the Cedar, in fact the only one I can think of is quality.

Notes: Coffee, Lime, Pine, Cedarwood, Coriander, Vetiver, Clove Leaf

Prada Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger Review

July 14, 2009

Prada have been incredibly successful (and deservedly so) with Amber and Prada Man, then more recently with Infusion d’Iris and Infusion d’Homme. I’ve enjoyed all of their releases thus far, and was excited when I heard about the summer flanker for the infusion range, Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger. I was hoping for a lightweight Neroli for summertime. But it seems they spent the money on the packaging, and not the juice, which is not a surprise considering the way the industry works. Prada have had a huge let down in the first of their series of ‘ephemeral infusions’ based on their Exclusive boutique range.

Infusion de Fleur d'OrangerIdFdO opens with Neroli, the kind I recognise from Gaultier’s terrifyingly potent Fleur du Male. And just as soon as you catch that, it whizzes past your nose and is replaced with a light, powdery Tuberose with hints of white florals, presumably from the Jasmine and Orange Blossom, but none of it has any presence, skank or body, it’s just “there”.
And before you know it, that’s gone too. And you are left with a cheap smelling linen water. It’s slightly musky and powdery too, which must be the Serenolide – a Givaudan molecule described as “an elegant white musk with sweet fruity connotations providing warm and soft velvety notes that blend well with all kinds of trendy fruity accords”. The longevity is exceedingly poor, at probably 2 hours tops. Frankly, I’d expect to find this fragrance in Asda’s own brand ironing water, not a fine fragrance.

Top: Mandarin, Neroli
Middle: Orange Blossom, Tuberose, Jasmine
Base: Serenolide, Powdery Notes

Terre d’Hermes Review

July 12, 2009

Terre d’Hermes is meant to be an olfactory journey through the elements of earth, air and water (wait, no fire?). It was composed by Hermes Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, famous for his transparent fragrance structures and launched in 2006. TdH has been massively popular and is the second most reviewed fragrance over at Basenotes (behind A*Men). It famously contains 55% Iso E Super in it’s formula.

Terre d'HermesOpens as a harsh and loud bitter Orange with a tiny hint of Grapefruit. Fortunately, this part is shortlived.
As the citrus subsides, earthy, scorched, dry Vetiver appears, but is dominated by the Pepper notes – which are just lightly spicy and nose-tingling. Soft and elegant, with a tiny hint of Patchouli, which has also been given the Ellena touch (a ghostly presence). There is also a minty-herbal note, which is possibly Geranium, and Benzoin, dry, resionous and vanillic, making me think “smoke”.
After this comes the ‘mineral’ smell, a cold, sharp crystalline note. Like breeze over a rocky desert (the advertising for Terre d’Hermes is perfect in this regard). The sparkling clear-ness reminds me of Paul Smith Story.
The long drydown remains crystal clear and Cedar like, projecting for miles with fantastic longevity. It performs particularly well in the heat of summer.

Top: Grapefruit, Orange, Flint
Middle: Pepper, Pink Pepper, Geranium leaves, Patchouli
Base: Cedar, Vetiver, Benzoin

BNTBTBB Ladyboy Review

July 10, 2009

Ladyboy is BNTBTBB’s ‘punk’ fragrance. It is apparently loved by “fiercely good looking” gay guys, as well as straight guys and girls (so everyone but Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgenders?) Words I would use to describe it are ‘flamboyant’ and ‘unconventional’ – especially as this in their Men’s offering.

LadyboyLadyboy opens with a brash, radioactive Banana. On a card it smells more like “refreshers” sweets, but on me it reminds me of the flavouring used in antibiotic syrup that I had to take when I was 6. The Banana is stood, rather unashamedly in front of the lush Violet Leaf (very good quality, not frustratingly synthetic) and Chamomile – a combination that smells like Raspberry leaf to me.
The Seaweed in the drydown is almost unrecognisable (I spent an entire weekend sniffing seaweed last week, I know what it smells like) – it isn’t salty or briny, but it does suggest the seaside. It’s strangely powdery, smoky and sweet but somewhat like the breeze. If the Banana wasn’t still so potent, it would probably save the fragrance for me.
My dislike of Banana as a flavouring/smell/taste/texture doesn’t make me dislike Ladyboy. What makes me dislike Ladyboy is that it all smells too strange together. Though the sugariness gives it a similar feel to Black XS, it is very unconventional, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily a good thing.

Notes: Banana, Violet Leaf, Seaweed, Labdanum, Oakmoss, Chamomile

Dior Dune pour Homme Review

July 6, 2009

Saturday was the Green Sniff n Speak day over at Basenotes. I took the opportunity to revisit one of my favourite summer scents, Dior’s fantastic Dune pour Homme, first launched in 1997.

Dune pour HommeDune opens on sharp Bergamot, and wet green leaves. It’s like leaves that still have raindrops on them. The sharpness is left behind quickly, and it becomes smooth.
There is a distinct Fig note in the heart, creamy and milky (like when you cut a leaf open and the milky looking liquid comes out) and rich, as well as perfectly ripe – just taken off the tree. The Fig is surrounded by an aquatic, watery feeling note – the effect Hedione helps creates in fragrances.
The verdant “green-ness” is maintained throughout the fragrance, is somewhat tart and reminds me of Rhubarb leaves.
The aquatic note recedes for the drydown and Dune is left as a soft, fuzzy and comfy Cedarwood and Tonka combination, which although not innovative, is very pleasant and enjoyable

Top: Fig Leaves, Basil Leaves, Blackcurrant Leaves, Mandarin
Middle: Hedione, Rose, Moss, Sage
Base: Fig Tree, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Vanilla

BNTBTBB Breath of God Review

July 1, 2009

B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful is the sister-brand of Lush, the natural bath bomb/soap/toiletries giant. So far, BNTBTBB’s fragrances haven’t gone into massive distribution, with stores in the UK, Japan and Austria. So if they aren’t available nearby, I apologise for teasing you. Breath of God could well be the brands most famous fragrance after Luca Turin raved about it (5 stars) in an update to Perfumes: The Guide. According to BNTBTBB it is a combination of Exhale and Inhale – 2 of the brands body sprays (which I’ve yet to smell, so can’t verify how similar they smell together).

Breath of GodNeroli, lightly floral and citrus with a big Vetiver note. There are hints of Melon, which detract from the smokiness of the Vetiver, and the soft pepper note makes the woody facet of Vetiver (which can also be nutty, grassy and salty, as well as anything else) stand out. It is earthy, dark and utterly mesmerizing for fans of the Vetiver note. Who knew that watery, sparkly Melon and rooty Vetiver went together so well? The Musk that is used is soft and I don’t find it grates or annoys my nose like many musks present in many designer fragrances do. You can just about smell the Rose in the heart, against the Vetiver (I’d like to mention that at this point, it’s still entirely melon on the card. Try it on the skin) with a dusky, mossy feel. It becomes increasingly smoky, and much less earthy as it dries down. I’m not certain if there is in fact any incense in the fragrance, but the smokiness that Simon Constantine has created definitely suggests it is there. Breath of God is an utterly fantastic Vetiver fragrance.

Notes: Cedarwood, Rose, Ylang Ylang, Vetiver, Lemon, Grapefruit, Neroli, Black Pepper, Sandalwood, Cade.

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