Simply Belle / Exceptional Parfums

3 Dec

This perfume is gorgeous! I’ve been searching for a body lotion scent for ages and I think I might have found it. Simply Belle smells heavenly without being too sharp on my skin; this is reminiscent of warm ivory soap and powdery cream. I was surprised to find this little gem in an innocuous tester that came with one of my purchases. This is a love for me, I wear this after every shower and I feel instantly happy. It’s always the little things =].
SB starts off very green with a burst of violet leaf and lily-of-the-valley, within seconds it is phased out by fresh peaches and white jasmine. The water lily notes combined with warm benzoin vanilla are so creamy and delicious; I have never smelled a cleaner and more indulgent vanilla, I love it.  Heliotrope softly accents a very mild citrus, and the musk is concocted so wonderfully. Combined it smells like clean soapy skin that’s been deeply moisturized and swathed with the most decadent of body creams.

Unfortunately, the bad news sets in within half an hour. SB is terrible on longevity; I get that it’s supposed to be a “skin scent” but this is awfully stingy for such a beautiful fragrance!

Overall an ideal Dove soap imitation; I also want to add that this smells incredibly close to Glow by JLO minus the hideous screech of synthetic roses that plague the opening of that fragrance. Minus the endurance, Simply Belle is fairly sweet and wholesome; it’s a great soapy alternative for those in search of the perfect clean scent.


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Gold Sugar / Aquolina

2 Dec

This starts off as a chemically induced orange that became a little too cloying for me. I am a fan of the original Pink Sugar and although that one is also synthetic, it was heavily obscured by the caramel and vanilla. Gold Sugar is a victim to what is usually common amongst cheap citrus based fragrances; it smells a little like Lysol.

The effect is not immediately noticeable; in fact I had to really look for it (I’m so picky!). Gold sugar is still a decent fragrance, and for the price this is worth a second glance.

I bought this flanker based on the notes; I mean crème brulee is my favorite dessert so how could I pass? GS smells like delicious cream and egg tart, the coconut sets a tropical tone that feels a little beachy.  The main components are pretty simple; it’s basically custard, cream, and coconut with a tart base. It’s linear and can become a little boring.

I don’t dislike Gold Sugar, it’s just generic gourmand. If you’re interested in something basic and nice, I think this fragrance might temporarily fulfill your cravings.


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Lady Million / Paco Rabanne

2 Dec

No offense to anyone who loves the perfume but this is an overpriced fragrance for a rather mediocre scent. I’m not suggesting that Lady Million smells awful—quite the contrary–but if you had told me this was a gas station original I would have agreed. Nonetheless this would be excellent if paired with a leather jacket and a gold sequined dress; but other than a swift kiss and a few empty promises, it’s a rather forgettable experience.

Honey and raspberry are one of my favorite combinations and this duo becomes the primary players of Lady Million; there’s a hint of jasmine and other white florals simmering below the surface along with warm amber and patchouli. This fragrance really does smell like something gold; it’s bright and optimistic yet a little linear. Nothing develops over time; you’re pretty much stuck with what you’ve got.

LM doesn’t smell sexy to me, it seems preppy and “dressed up”; like a good girl trying to be bad but really just doing it out of peer pressure. On the bright side, LM has great sillage and longevity; a few spritzes will probably last for an entire day.
Overall I’m not completely disappointed with this perfume; it just ends up in the back of my cabinet lost amongst other superior fragrances, spinning about woefully on its side–desperate for an opportunity to redeem itself. Luckily this gem is rather popular and if you find yourself not feeling like a million bucks, you can always swap it away.


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Ivoire / Pierre Balmain

1 Dec

I don’t think people give Ivoire much of a chance, indeed this fragrance goes on super sharp…but it mellows out to be exactly what was promised: clean white soap. The galbanum is perhaps a little too prominent throughout, but after a few hours it settles perfectly into the skin leaving a very sheer and creamy scent.

I was originally on the fence between Ivoire and Glow by JLO, both were exceptionally harsh in their opening but Glow came off being too synthetic and stayed that way for hours. Although I prefer the latter for its more floral character; Ivoire has better tenacity on the long run and is overall less offensive and pleasant in its performance.

This perfume really sets off after 45 minutes on my skin; it’s really quite strong in composition so longevity is of no concern. My end goal was to smell like fresh ivory soap that smells like clean skin after a bath, and although Ivoire achieves this somewhat—the heaviness of the vetiver might come off being a little damp/earthy for those who find such things unpleasant.

There is Iris immediately in the opening and it blossoms into galbanum and roses, it’s refreshing and very powdery, but overall clean and sharp. This shifts into a slightly clammy stage which is no doubt due to the vetiver and patchouli combined with ylang-ylang. It feels a little woody and ozonic at first, yet the heart of this fragrance is flowers and cream…the earthy base produces a warm and inviting skin scent. Beware though that sillage is enormous and the more you apply the worse that chemical scent will become. It’s really quite unbearable after 3 spritzes, and veers uncannily into bug spray territory.

Overall this is the closest I have ever found to a real “Dove” soap fragrance, there is always Nivea by Nivea, but that product is not available in the United States. Until I can find something better that fulfills my standards for French soap, Ivoire will have to do.


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Pink Sugar / Aquolina

1 Dec

Going by appearances Pink Sugar looks sadly garish with that weird metallic string thing that looks like a thong wrapped against a tacky frosted bottle. On the surface it seems rather tawdry, but this fragrance is absolutely anything but low quality. I personally would have never purchased this if it weren’t for a tester at Nordstrom’s.

Pink Sugar veers into familiar territory with its basic candy notes and warm vanilla, but what separates this fragrance from other generic perfumes is that it doesn’t try to be anything other than itself.  This isn’t a complex and expensive scent; it’s incredibly safe but also very fun, girly and uncomplicated.

I can definitely smell cotton candy as the primary note; it’s rather linear and doesn’t change very much. Caramel and vanilla are warm and syrupy; it feels like I am being wrapped in a yummy pink cloud! PS eventually phases into a cozy sweet scent that is almost cloying, I am reminded of warm toasted marshmallows and strawberry flavored lipstick.

There’s a heavy synthetic/chemical smell on the dry down but it’s quickly overshadowed by a musky powder, thankfully the result feels more womanly than girly. Longevity is spectacular on me, and sillage is just right.

Pink Sugar has found a niche in my morning rituals; I just adore it so much. This is something I can wear daily and in any condition; it’s inoffensive and frilly, surprisingly suitable for all ages and doesn’t settle into something too immature. For the price, quality, and longevity this is a wonderful and simple addition to my wardrobe.


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J`Adore / Dior

30 Nov

The queen of white florals in my opinion, it’s very clean, soapy, and elegant; J’adore happens to be the one fragrance in which my husband has constantly praised as “the pretty one”, in light of the fact that he is absolutely finicky about perfumes in general. Therefore I own many variations of this scent in abundance; when it comes to J’adore I would recommend buying the EDP because the sillage and longevity are quite extraordinary.

Despite its popularity, this is a very generic fragrance. There was no love affair for me, no deep infatuation; in fact our relationship seems to be quite proper and amiable thank you. I wear this to please others; when I am quite tired of being agreeable and just let my body roam about at parties, dragging along like a sack of meal. This is the “safe” scent, the “can I please go home and fling my bra across the room” fragrance. It’s forever genteel, and I’ve so often find myself becoming quite bored with its monotony.

A reviewer said this smells like a Stepford Wives perfume and I completely agree, it’s trophy wife in a bottle.

Either way this is my favorite jasmine, but it’s not a complete jasmine as pear and melon notes are quite evident in the opening. Lily of the valley and peaches are mellowed in the background as roses and magnolia blossom into being, citrus notes are subtle but it keeps this scent very clean and fresh in the dry down. This is an almost tropical fragrance, it reminds me of Hawaii during the spring; all that is lacking is a little coconut and benzoin to give this a beachy vibe.

Overall not a love, but still a beautiful scent meant to be a crowd pleaser. I feel J’adore would be the perfect gift for someone unfamiliar with perfumes in general, and are looking for something appropriate for all occasions. It’s a safe blind buy with strong sillage and longevity (if your version is the EDP) and is quite beautiful despite its rather bland and linear personality.


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Gucci / Gucci

29 Nov

I must admit, this is my favorite patchouli fragrance ever. It’s most impressive because I usually dislike strong honey notes, but this scent is refreshingly bold and complex. Gucci Gucci is certainly not mainstream and that in itself is a plus– there is a dark sense of refinement about this fragrance– I feel like I am transported through time and finding myself on a date with the Great Gatsby himself. It feels very much like a vintage piece but the tropical notes suggests a modern flair.

I tended to hate patchouli as a main component in most perfumes, as it tends to give a very dirty earthy vibe which reminds me too much of wet foliage for some reason. Even when blended with fruits or florals, it’s easy to become completely overwhelmed by the herbal-ness quality that I’ve often find myself a little queasy.

This is not the case with Gucci, as that “wet plant” quality seems to have been noticeably curbed, the patch here feels lush and opulent.  It maintains a dark and boozy personality throughout; while the honey adds to the warmth of this fragrance, the patchouli stays cold and mysterious. Guava and pear top notes are subtle and are quietly overshadowed by the tiare flower which gives this fragrance a very tropical floral accord. Sillage and longevity are very good on me and I absolutely love the dry down, it smells like wealth, power, and seduction…this is confidence in a bottle.

Gucci feels very mature to me, and I don’t mean age…I mean sophistication, class, and elegance. It’s beautiful but I can’t imagine everyone loving it the same. I maintain that certain fragrances will choose its wearer and not the other way around; this is unfortunately the case with Gucci. If you can find a love for refined patchouli and honey, this is a great and nostalgic adventure. Worthy of a test but not a safe blind purchase.


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Natori / Natori

26 Nov

I unexpectedly came into possession of this fragrance thanks to a blind swap I did about 2 months ago. I immediately bought an entire bottle after testing it on myself, and oh my gosh this is the sweetest salted plum scent that I have ever experienced. It literally smells like the plum sodas I had as a kid in Hong Kong; it’s opulent and gourmand, extremely feminine while maintaining a sense of complexity and wholesomeness.

Natori feels mysterious in every way; it’s a seductively dark and smoky cocktail. I am not usually a fan of plum notes but this deeply multifarious in nature; the amber is warm and inviting, the roses do not play center stage but provides a floral edge that underlies the plum very well.  My favorite part about this dry down is the ylang-ylang, musk, and patchouli combo; it brings out a kind of earthiness that is reminiscent of Chinese tea shops. But this isn’t to say that Natori is completely oriental, it’s actually quite versatile, the aldehydes are heavy hitters but somehow this doesn’t come off as being overpowering.  Natori feels very vintage, I am much more infatuated with this one than I am of Opium- and no this doesn’t really smell like Opium at all- they’re both gorgeous but Natori is definitely more wearable. Plus the bottle is beautifully crafted, the lid is heavy like a stone; it feels oddly reassuring.

The only drawback is the sillage/longevity, what a major disappointment! This essentially becomes a skin scent after merely an hour, which is a shame because Natori feels like it was crafted as a statement piece. I can’t help but feel powerful and formidable while wearing it, but alas my spirits are short lived; this beauty was probably another unfortunate victim of reformulation. Overall an elegant evening perfume that is both mature and feminine; a worthy purchase despite its minor shortcomings.


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Pure / DKNY Donna Karan

24 Nov

This fragrance is absolutely lovely; simple and clean yet never boring or dull. Pure reminds me of country linen and white floral bouquets, it’s beautiful and understated. The sandalwood tones are my favorite, so light and airy- makes me feel meditative and peaceful when I catch whiffs of it throughout the day.

Pure is minimalistic (sillage is very light and personal), and the bottle accurately reflects this wholesome nature. I get moments of clarity when wearing this; soft vanilla undertones feel so graceful and serene! Lotus notes are beautifully formulated along with a very creamy jasmine; this opens up to a powdery floral with soft amber that invokes feelings of warmth- like sunshine on white petals. My favorite part is the advent of sandalwood to this gorgeous dry down, it is so smooth and so tempered that I can totally imagine myself in a Buddhist temple with doors and windows wide open, allowing the tepid breeze and hints of incense to overcome me. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, the freesia sneaks in and elevates this fragrance into white floral heaven.

Pure feels absolutely ageless- because life after all is about the journey, and this perfume has the capacity to bring patience and appreciation to my otherwise hectic existence. This is a wonderful example of simplicity without compromise, and is as close to my definition of aromatherapy as one can get. Pure is easily coveted among my top ten favorite vanillas and an extremely safe blind buy.


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Sublime / Ulric de Varens

23 Nov

This is a quick review of Ulric de Varens; this is a fantastic fragrance that smells almost identical to Pour Femme by Dolce and Gabbana. I literally could not tell the difference testing them side by side at first; Pour Femme feels a little more sugary and wholesome but UdV is softer and not as intense. The only difference I’ve perceived between these two were the missing raspberry notes in UdV, but this is a very subtle nuance and it’s hardly worth mentioning. The important variables are the marshmallow and vanilla creaminess that imparts a feeling of warmth and comfort every time I wear Pour Femme, and that reminiscence is evenly matched by its replica. This is an uncomplicated love affair between fluffy candy and silky cream, total gourmand bliss!

The downside to Ulric De Varens is clearly the projection and longevity, it’s almost nonexistent. This would be better categorized as a body mist rather than a perfume, I could literally bathe in it and the fragrance would evaporate an hour later. On a positive note this bottle is relatively cheap and easily obtainable, so you can reapply obsessively throughout the day. Overall a great budget alternative if you’re absolutely fanatical about marshmallow fragrances like I am!


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