Signorina / Salvatore Ferragamo

30 Dec

Basic, conventional, non-spectacular are words I would use to describe Signorina; is this a bad thing? Not really. A total work place scent, or just something average for an average day, when you’re in the mood to smell fresh but don’t really want to waste the more expensive stuff (we all have at least one of those in our closets).

Signorina is like fresh roses on a spring day, perhaps after a light shower. You can smell the creaminess, and it isn’t heavy or sickening, it’s perfectly balanced without overloading your senses.

The longevity on this one is fleeting, but the sillage is incredibly strong on my skin, one spray is enough to give you an “aura”– I find myself noticing Signorina’s presence throughout the day. For its price point this isn’t going to impress the perfume snobs, but it’s a great gift for someone  just stepping into the world of fragrances. Overall a safe bet, but nothing you haven’t smelled before.


Longevity: 6/10  Sillage: 8/10

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Reveal / Calvin Klein

30 Dec

I promised myself I won’t do any more reviews, but I can’t help it…the world needs to know about this perfume! Reveal is salty, musky, beach-y, and makes me so nostalgic for the California coast it puts tears in my eyes; this scent is linear but that’s part of the charm: layer this with any caramel scented perfume and you’ll be on the moon!

So you know your average “beach” fragrance, it always smells like some tropical fiesta: loud, sassy, and reeks of fruit and flowers. Reveal is not that fragrance; she’s discreet, warm, timid, and very subtle. She’s the girl that strays from the party and takes a walk on the beach at moonlight, all alone… reminiscing of days gone by.

If you purchase this expecting Miami Glow or Aqua Divina you’ll be sorely disappointed! This is totally on the opposite end of the spectrum, Reveal is a personal scent…it’s quiet and secretive…meant only for a warm embrace.

The perfume itself reminds me of the California coastline of my youth; I used to go surfing early in the morning hours, running down to the shore right before the dawn…and Reveal encapsulates that moment: when the waters are eerily still and contemplative, there is nobody around, the smell of the ocean is heavy with salt and dew. The warm light of the sun peeking over the horizon; it’s beautiful, it’s nostalgic…it’s reflective.

I don’t pick up much “sweet” from this fragrance aside from the very discreet iris, this was what I had hoped Womanity to be (and yes I agree that this dries down to a very Thierry Mugler-esque scent). It’s just salt, musk, and warm sands. Reveal is perfect for layering with any other sweet fragrance (I layer mine with a touch of Donna/Valentino) to get a beach-y girly scent.

If you’re in the market for a pure coast/ocean/sands fragrance, without the artificial flowers and sweets, this is it!


Longevity: 5/10  Sillage: 6/10

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Honey Oud / Floris

4 Jan

This is by far my favorite oud fragrance; it’s versatile, unisex, and tends to induce feelings of confidence and positivity even in the most chaotic of circumstances. This is either extremely sexy, or I feel incredibly sexy wearing it; the roses and amber are warm and addicting. Honey Oud makes me feel as though I am hanging on the arms of a very powerful man who wrestles bears for fun and wears a letter “S” on his chest.

The opening is a sparkling cloud of honey and woods with rose petals blossoming throughout. Musk and patchouli are mildly perceptible but its presence is dominated by the appearance of spicy vanilla and amber. The agarwood, rose, and vanilla combined smells like old prayer books and church incense, incredible. Honestly I can’t think of a more harmonious blend of notes; these facets go so well together–as if they were created solely for the purpose of this perfume.

Besides the attractive appeal, Honey Oud reminds me of old Roman cathedrals with vaulted ceilings and wood panels on praying altars. It’s like sitting in church on a bright Sunday morning, taking in the scent of virtuousness that exudes from the layers of stone and architecture that has persisted for centuries.

I honestly love this fragrance, and for such an expensive scent…its price is very agreeable too; overall a true masterpiece worthy of its reputation.


Longevity: 8/10  Sillage: 7/10

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Un Crime Exotique / Parfumerie Generale

4 Jan

This perfume has a distinct scent of fresh tea mixed in with gingerbread and sandalwood; it’s a lovely a gourmand with an herbal twist rather similar to Sacrebleu by Nicolai Parfumeur. Un Crime Exotique smells similar to a coffee shop/vintage book store during Christmas time; it’s festive and warm with a penchant for nostalgia.
The opening is cinnamon, chai tea and gingerbread. Though on my skin I find the gingerbread to be dominant, with cinnamon notes contributing subtle whiffs of spiciness. Sandalwood and tea create a cozy accord that makes me think of pumpkin pie fresh out of the oven and sprinkled with a generous amount of nutmeg and allspice.

I see comparisons to Pacifica’s Mexican Cocoa and I have to disagree, MC smells to me like dark chocolate with a heavy dusting of coco powder and an almond filling. It smells decadent and buttery unlike UCE which is spicier in a totally optimistic and cheerful way.

Un Crime Exotique is a wonderful scent that manages to encapsulate the holiday spirit for all seasons and occasions. It’s simply a delicious and happy fragrance, nothing complex or extravagant. It’s a perfume I’ll end up using as a room deodorizer because it reminds me of pies baking in the oven; it’s also great for concentration or to help with relaxation and sleep.


Longevity: 8/10  Sillage: 5/10

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Spiritueuse Double Vanille / Guerlain

4 Jan

Imagine Vito Corleone in the opening scene of The Godfather where he is confronted by Amerigo Bonasera about a particular murder-for-hire of two young men. This scene takes place inside a dark and smoky room with just enough light to showcase the tension that exists between Vito and the undertaker, if that room had a smell it would be Spritueuse Double Vanille.

SDV is the upper crust of the perfume world and its price/exclusivity pretty much sums up how rare this gem is.  Spiritueuse was designed by Jean Paul Guerlain himself in 2007 with the intentions of it being a limited edition scent only available at the higher end boutiques in Paris. Double Vanille is an elegant and boozy fragrance reminiscent of dark liquor and tobacco.

This starts out thick and decadent with heavy notes of rum and benzoin, there is a dark boozy undertone that stays throughout the initial stage and into the dry down. The opening is reminiscent of expensive liquor and pipe tobacco, the chocolate stage follows abruptly with a hint of smoke and cedar. Its middle stage is where I fell in love, once the alcohol and smoke have subsided you are left with the scent of sweet luxurious vanilla on a bed of dark chocolate. SDV is beautifully balanced between sweet and smokiness, plus it’s probably liable to get you a little buzzed too.

Spiritueuse has amazing endurance and sillage, I would wear this all day and could still smell it lingering on my skin the next morning. The bottle really ought to come with a warning label or at least a seal of potency; its opening is heavy with the scent of booze, enough to sweep me off my feet at times.

Overall a decadent and expensive perfume that is unavailable anywhere but France, there are alternatives such as Eau Des Missions Cologne by Le Couvent des Minimes; although that one is a bit sweet and not as earthy or wholesome. Spiritueuse is worth a try in my opinion, its cult following makes it almost mythical.


Longevity: 9/10  Sillage: 9/10

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L’Ambre des Merveilles / Hermes

3 Jan

Wow this is absolutely beautiful and warm like golden sugar. I’m surprised there are no comparisons to Kenzo L’Elephant minus the oriental spices associated with that fragrance: cardamom, cloves, cumin, caraway etc. L’Ambre is reminiscent of hot spicy chai with lots of cinnamon and vanilla powder; it feels so cozy and makes me want to crawl into bed and hibernate all winter lol.

The opening is bright amber with drops of sweet vanilla, this smells like a warm creamy dessert infused with toasted brown sugar and cinnamon spices. A boozy patchouli underlies this sugary accord, but it’s neither cold nor sharp. In fact the patchouli is subtle and mildly woodsy; it doesn’t come off as being too bitter or intrusive like most scents dominated with this note. Labdanum is discreetly mixed into the dry down to give a soft and airy fragrance that feels minimalistic and honest, like bright and transparent amber.

Although L’Ambre is distinctively a sweet scent, it’s certainly unconventional. Unlike most sugary perfumes this one doesn’t feel narcissistic (it doesn’t stand there screaming obnoxiously) neither does it seek attention in crude ways.  L’Ambre feels wholesome and modest, she’s sweet and inviting like apple pie, but still retains an aura of mystery. Men are drawn not only to her discreet nature but also her feminine charms; she inspires poetry in those lucky enough to fall in love with her.

Overall a magnificent perfume by Hermes, and one that feels perfect for those long winter months. L’Ambre is inoffensive while the longevity is quite good; it’s unisex though I associate this fragrance as strongly feminine. Highly recommended for those who enjoyed Kenzo L’Elephant but found the myriad of spices too strong and bitter; L’Ambre is perfect for gourmand lovers as well.


Longevity: 8/10  Sillage: 7/10

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Love by Kilian / Kilian

3 Jan

At $260 a bottle I expected something a little more unique and exceptional; the features of Love are quite peculiar: caramel, sugar and…civet. I would never have guessed “that poor cat” was part of this concoction because the scent smells primarily of synthetic bubble gum and marshmallows. I can definitely see the resemblance to D&G’s Pour Femme but unlike PF, Love is much more intense with a hint of skankiness–probably due to the combination of musk and civet.

The opening is like a rude outburst of caramel and pink sugar, I mean this is really really sweet. The liquid is an amber color that is as intense as its sillage, do NOT spray this on white clothing otherwise you’ll find yourself spending an afternoon scrubbing the stain off your garments.

Love is pretty linear with a few admittedly sensual phases of an animalic sort; the combination of musk and iris smells like powdered skin with civet being low-key, providing only a slight dirtiness to the undertone. I sense few florals as they seem to be the building blocks for the mostly sweet upper layers, a hint of pink pepper in the dry down and nothing more. Despite a mediocre sillage, this fragrance is quite enduring on my skin.

Love is pretty much pink bubble gum and caramel; it isn’t that complex or exceptional and smells incredibly mainstream. I feel one can easily substituted this scent for Pour Femme by Dolce & Gabbana or even Ulric de Varens’ Sublime; overall a decent Kilian creation but lacking in character.


Longevity: 9/10  Sillage: 7/10

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Very Sexy Now 2016 vs 2014 / Victoria’s Secret

3 Jan

Very Sexy Now 2016 smells so cozy, like warm island sands under a hot tropical sun. This is a gorgeous and subtle coconut scent that reminds me of the beautiful coasts of Hawaii. 2016’s opening is a bit heavy on the alcohol but it dissipates within seconds to be replaced by an inviting scent of white sands and salty sea air. A very unique fragrance that is decadent like buttered popcorn, and just like buttered popcorn the fragrance can be a bit too “rich” and cloying if over sprayed. The dry down has hints of lotus which gives VSN a very aquatic and fresh undertone; this perfume has the spirit of a hot California summer with sandals in one hand and a bottle of suntan lotion in the other.

 

Very Sexy Now 2014 is a beautiful golden coconut fragrance crowned with garlands of fresh Gardenias. This version is a bit more floral than its older sister (Very Sexy Now 2016) and not as beach-y, however she’s still a warm tropical scent that is versatile year-round and for all occasions.

VSN starts off much like the 2016 version sans lotus and hot sand. Instead you are enveloped with fresh florals and a hint of quince; this brightens into a warm coconut accord that underlies a bouquet of orchids and gardenia. This is actually my favorite gardenia note in a perfume: white, dewy, and very island fresh. I think VSN’s coconut is the perfect background to its flowers center stage, it’s not synthetic nor overwhelming like most coconut fragrances, this one is done just right with a very subtle amount to give character.

Overall both perfumes are well done, they are weak in performance and the longevity is not great (even the EDP is skin soft) but I think these fragrances work so well because they aren’t heavy hitters, the coconut and sands would become too synthetic and messy otherwise.

If I would have to pick between the two I would certainly choose VSN 2014; it’s white florals, beach, and suntan lotion all in one bottle. It’s never cloying despite my obsessive spraying, can be worn day or night and is perfect whether you are having lunch with girlfriends or lazing around the house. In my opinion these are great fragrances by Victoria’s Secret, and both should be considered if you’re longing for the essence of summer.


Longevity: 6/10  Sillage: 6/10

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Fragrance Notes for Very Sexy Now 2014:

Must de Cartier / Cartier

30 Dec

This scent is like a woman’s pantsuit from the eighties: extravagant, timeless, and effortlessly gallant. This is a power bomb of aldehydes, civet, and vetiver; trademark ingredients from the golden age of perfumes. I was a little apprehensive about this fragrance, it’s certainly a statement piece with an extremely loud presence and great endurance, however I feel Must can also come off as slightly cold and intimidating.

On my skin this is a heavy composition of galbanum, woods, and aldehydes. Must phases out into a vetiver and sandalwood base with dry downs of carnation and supple leather. I can detect mild notes of civet but it isn’t overwhelming; I don’t pick up any roses, jasmine, or pineapple unfortunately. The dry down is a bit lackluster with mostly amber, aldehydes, and sandalwood. This is not a safe blind buy, like most fragrances from that time period, Must veers heavily into the “masculine” territory.

Personally I have yet to find a vintage chypre that doesn’t remind me of damp rotting earth; Must is actually quite enjoyable and one of the only eighties fragrances that I can stand. This is a power house, with the first application being strong enough to command the attention of a small village, and the longevity is incredible.

Overall I can see why this was a classic for over 30 years, it’s a legendary scent meant for the most sophisticated and powerful woman.


Longevity: 8/10  Sillage: 9/10

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La Nuit Tresor / Lancome

21 Dec

If you were to ask me which fragrance in my collection garners the most attention, it would be without a doubt: La Nuit Tresor. I’ve received compliments from everyone including my landlord, my husband, random strangers, and even the plumber! The opening is my favorite stage of La Nuit – multifaceted, distinctive and “expensive” smelling. It’s gourmand without smelling like a candy bomb.

Immediate impressions were a delicious blend of praline, chocolate, orchids, caramel and patchouli followed by a blast of litchi. There are definite shades of incense and coffee upon a bed of vanilla and licorice. I can also smell fresh strawberries melding within layers of sweet and delicious litchi, this is very sweet but thanks to the balance of incense and papyrus…it never becomes cloying on my skin. La Nuit is incredibly balanced in smoke and sweetness, I can never get bored of it.

The dry down is akin to sun drenched berries and night orchids wrapped in vanilla and chocolate. It’s incredibly elegant and addicting, I find myself saving this fragrance for very special occasions due to an irrational fear of someday becoming bored of it.

La Nuit Tresor was an unexpected love at first sniff but I must say the bottle accurately represents the nature of this perfume very well, it smells feminine, purple, mysterious and bewitching. One of my best purchases; here’s hoping that it will never be discontinued or reformulated.


Longevity: 8/10  Sillage: 9/10

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