Nebras / Al-Rehab

29 Oct

I was only exposed to the house of Al-Rehab through a dear friend who gifted me this bottle of Nebras; this was one of my first introductions into oud…and now I am totally hooked! I learned immediately why this company has such a stellar reputation, their oils are incredibly potent…one application was enough to leave me a little dizzy. This thing will singe your nostrils!

Upon first application, I am hit with a blast of citrus, followed by patchouli, orange blossom, rosewood, cedar chips and sandalwood. This is balsamic heaven with heavy incense notes and lots of oriental flowers; initial lemon notes were reminiscent of cleaning products but the floral follows up quite nicely. I don’t get “soapiness” that other reviewers have mentioned, this is pure resinous smoky rose/carnation, totally relaxing and meditative.

Nebras reminds me of that “New Age” shop smell that tend to dominate various parts of San Francisco: warm, comforting, and very cozy.  The sillage and longevity are enormous, in fact once in India I witnessed shop owners hanging their clothes on wooden door frames…while burning incense below so it would infuse into the fabric. This is what I feel like is happening when rubbing Nebras into my clothes; it saturates and stays there for weeks!

This is my first experience with the Saudi Arabian fragrance line, and I love it. I can’t believe how potent their perfumes are for such a bargain price, really makes you wonder about all those watered down reformulations from big house names. Overall a real bargain!

Agent Provocateur / Agent Provocateur

12 Oct

Oh my goodness do I love you Agent Provacateur. You are love at first sniff; a beautiful stranger, an alluring beast…a master of disguise. You are a queen and a princess, a lover and a heartbreaker; too beautiful to control and too wild to love.

This is one of the most gorgeous florals I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience; it’s definitely an oriental rose- thanks to the saffron notes in its composition. Some of the reviews distinctively say this feels like a “vintage perfume” and I totally agree; it’s classic but not mature at all- youthful but not restrictive to any age group.

Agent Provacateur reminds me of my travels in India; every morning the market stalls near my apartment will be decorated with garlands of flowers and rose water…with women setting up sticks of incense on the little altars that sometimes line the streets. That’s what this perfume reminds me of: gorgeous oriental roses with a little spice and saffron. The dry down is a little musky with mostly roses and hints of jasmine, I don’t sense the amber in this but I do notice the vetiver.

This is a “wet” roses scent, fresh morning buds with little dew drops on its delicate red lips; it’s an optimistic floral full of happiness and confidence. I will say that this is unexpectedly the rose that I have been searching for all my life; it is reminiscent of the blossoming of youth, innocence, and sincerity. It is, in my opinion – the reason why roses are the queen of all flowers. I fall in love every day that I wear this.


 

Top Notes

Magnolia /Saffron

 

Middle Notes

Gardenia /Vetiver/ Rose/ Jasmine

 

Base Notes

Amber /Musk /Cedar

 

Asian Green Tea / Creed ♥ Green Tea / Elizabeth Arden

8 Oct

I’ve been on the search for an authentic “green tea” fragrance for the longest time, so today I went out of my way to acquire this bottle by Creed called Asian Green Tea. On the same note, I also purchased the uniquely popular Green Tea by Elizabeth Arden (for comparison).


First off, I am extremely picky regarding chypre fragrances, the combination of citrus and labdanum on a bed of oak moss has the potential to smell like synthetic floor wipes to my nose. And unfortunately this seems to be the case with GT; there’s something commercial about this fragrance…the citrus and mint are horribly sweetened and smells processed to boot.

This is a frag that I have smelled before; like being inside one of those retail stores such as Origins and The Bodyshop. It’s generally the same: start off fresh, and then settles into something sweet and Lysol-ish.

When I think of green tea I think of oriental tea leaves with a good balance of citrus and mint, it should be refreshing but not aggressive. So this takes me to Creed’s Asian Green Tea, which I LOVE. It is timid in nature, smells soothing, wholesome, and feels full-bodied. I never realized how musk can produce such an unusual accord when combined with tea and orange. The citrus notes felt subdued by the sandalwood and amber, with floral undertones to mask any sourness that might peek through.

Overall evocative of having a cup of tea while surrounded by spring flowers; AGT is clean and fresh without being in your face about it.

Creed perfumes in general are outrageously priced, but their sillage/longevity are amazing.   Personally if you are in the market for a tea fragrance, this one (in my opinion) takes the cake. However, if you’re not keen on Creed then Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea may be a sensible substitute.


Asian Green Tea by Creed

Top Notes
Bergamot /Orange /Lemon /Neroli
 
Middle Notes
Violet/ Green Tea/ Heliotrope /Rose/ Black Currant
 
Base Notes
Sandalwood /Musk /Amber


 Green Tea by Elizabeth Arden
Top Notes
Rhubarb /Mint /Orange/ Bergamot /Lemon
 
Middle Notes
Carnation /Musk /Jasmine /Oakmoss /Amber/ Fennel
 
Base Notes
Caraway /Amber /Musk /Green Tea /Jasmine /Cloves /Oakmoss /Celery Seeds

Rose Couture / Elie Saab

8 Oct

If Ralph Lauren’s “Romance” and Valentino’s “Donna” got married, moved to the suburbs and had a baby it would be called “Rose Couture” by Elie Saab.  This perfume was one of those impulse buys that smelled great at the counter but was a regrettable experience when worn at home. Not that there is anything unpleasant about this fragrance, it is just too overwhelmingly sweet and too familiar to my nose, as if I’ve smelled hundreds before just like it.

RC feels like an inferior flanker (a branch-off of something extraordinary) in its current form, there are so many possibilities here but unfortunately that potential was never realized. For starters, the rose is obnoxiously flagrant – it seemed to have drowned out all the other notes. Heck I can barely detect the caramel and vanilla, where is the supposed litchi? Where is the sandalwood? This fragrance feels TOO safe, just your basic floral and some weaker notes stumbling offstage somewhere.

If you took Valentino’s Donna and stripped it of its lipstick scent, subdued the boozy vanilla and leather; if you took out the patchouli and watered it down with liquid candy…you would have Rose Couture.

The projection is strong, the longevity is moderate. The dry down is extremely bland; it smells like a weaker version of itself. Overall, a very generic floral that smells safe and unexceptional- possibly within the same category as La Vie Est Belle by Lancome.

If you are looking to smell like everyone else, Rose Couture would be the ideal candidate. However if you’re the kind who goes against the grain, consider skipping out on this flanker.


Top Notes
Rose /Peony /Orange Blossom /Bergamot
 
Middle Notes
Rose /Jasmine /Vanilla /Peach /Litchi
 
Base Notes
Patchouli /Sandalwood/ Caramel

 

Dark Obsession / Calvin Klein

7 Oct

It is a generally a rare circumstance when I encounter a fragrance that works so well with my skin chemistry and expresses so clearly all my peculiarities and confidences that when I do accidentally fall in love…I knew it had to be fate.

Due to the finicky nature of perfumes (scent association, environmental conditions, the individual’s own physical makeup), I strongly believe that it is the fragrance that picks the wearer not the other way around. How a scent behaves and the exhilarating feeling that follows is completely up to the ingredients and whether or not it will complement your body.

Some brands will play on my skin like a perfect orchestra, whereas others just sit there stubborn and unwilling.

A perfect example was when I first tried on Dark Obsession by Calvin Klein; this fragrance is just so darn good that I felt I have found the perfect scent for my fall collection. There is just so much going on here: a thick accord of espresso, chocolate, soft leather, and smoke.  This is a walk through dark mysterious woods with your jacket collar propped up against your ears, you see a tiny little house and enter it…a whiff of dark coffee, spices and tobacco assaults your senses…suddenly you are at home, safe…warm, comforting.

I sense so much of Tom Ford’s Tobacco & Vanille in this blend, the guarana and vanilla are so expertly synchronized that the appearance of suede and balsam firs appeared natural and expected. There is nothing here offensive or uninviting.

Overall a masterpiece in my mind; but like I have stated, this perfume is not for everyone. Hubby has tried on Dark Obsession and to my nose he does not project the same harmonious results that I fell in love with. The smell was off by a hair; that velvety blend got lost in a cocktail of scent fragments that never seemed to fit in anywhere; in fact some people find that there are no chocolates or coffee in this perfume at all.  I was disappointed but also relieved; I guess this will be my personal fragrance after all. =]

For the price and quality, I would recommend this one over Tobbaco & Vanille. It would be an adventure in gourmand heaven, and an unforgettable experience.


 

Top Notes
Mandarin/ Guarana/ Wormwood
 
Middle Notes
Clary Sage /Fir /Vetiver
 
Base Notes
Labdanum /Vanilla /Suede

Pour Femme / Dolce & Gabbana

30 Sep

Continuing with this week’s theme I was able to wrap my fingers around this gorgeous fragrance by Dolce & Gabbana, once again a food scent that is warm and inviting but not sickeningly sweet. Marshmallow is the primary player here but it will not function alone, this is a combination of cotton candy and creamy vanilla with lots of citrus.

Upon first spritz I immediately recognized the marshmallows, raspberry and orange. I love raspberry but combined with candy it is overwhelmingly sweet, luckily the sandalwood and citrus kicked in to give it a little balance. However the dry down was mostly vanilla-marshmallow with just a hint of incense hiding below the surface.

The vanilla was what made this fragrance really shine for me; this is the same spicy creaminess that I love in Shalimar.  Comparing ingredients I realized that both perfumes carried vanilla, sandalwood, and citrus notes.  So no surprise that I absolutely adore this fragrance!

In closing, Pour Femme is surprisingly memorable. Personally I would only wear her at night during the winter-spring season but the opening notes makes it great for the summer also (if you are really into intense candy fragrances).  The sillage is quite strong, and longevity is very good. The vanilla spice gets even better with time; after an hour it transforms into a sheer silky version of itself. Very sensual and unique. ♥


 

Top Notes
Neroli/ Raspberry /Mandarin Orange
 
Middle Notes
Jasmine/ Orange Blossom
 
Base Notes
Marshmallow/ Vanilla /Heliotrope/ Sandalwood

 

Untold / Elizabeth Arden

30 Sep
My goal this week was to experiment with different base pyramids, test out unusual compositions, and giving second chances to notes that initially repelled me. I was on a quest to discover why I disliked pear scents when combined with something nutty (like almonds), so I figured it would be best to combine an ingredient that I love (spices/patchouli) with pear to hopefully bring out its character.

That being said, today I received this gorgeous crystalline bottle of Untold by Elizabeth Arden. It was not love at first sniff, the pear and gardenia was overwhelming. I am extremely prejudiced of sugary fragrances, and the first layer of Untold reminded me heavily of Prada Candy. A fragrance so sweet that I imagined myself swimming in a sea of hot caramel and honey syrup; I am still recovering from that traumatic experience by the way lol.

However Untold had an unexpected surprise for me, after fifteen minutes the amber and patchouli mysteriously appeared and I went from being completely repelled to absolutely in love. The dry down transformed into something delicate and creamy…like a soft vanilla spice. I think pink pepper really complimented the patchouli in this fragrance; combined it gave the floral notes a much deserved lift that made it remarkably feminine and sensual.

Overall I feel Untold would be great for the office woman, or as a nightly routine. It is inoffensively gentle and not incessantly commanding like most fragrances in this category. I love that it isn’t aggressively sexy, vying instead to leave things to the imagination, very classy indeed.


Top Notes
Pink Pepper /Bergamot /Pear /Cassis
 
Middle Notes
Jasmine / Gardenia
 
Base Notes
Patchouli /Amber /Musk

Chance / Chanel

29 Sep

Chance is young and uninhibited, with its heart on its sleeve. A composition of fresh, floral, and pepper imparts feelings of renewed ambitions and happy spirits.

In terms of a perfume it isn’t anything profound; notes of pineapple, lemon and patchouli gives this a fresh and uplifting quality while the jasmine makes it ultra-feminine. Chance is incredibly versatile- safe for all occasions and surprisingly elegant, a perfect accessory for spring or the beginnings of summer.

I wanted to love it, but ultimately I feel you are paying for the brand more than the actual substance. Chance is heavily reminiscent of the perfume counters at department stores; which could be nostalgic for some but not a memory that that I particularly cherish haha.

Sillage is quite soft on my skin. The EDT doesn’t last as long as the EDP (and much milder in concentration) but that’s okay because this fragrance is meant to be subtle and inoffensively safe. Overall I think I prefer Coco Mademoiselle before this one, with its retail value I feel Chance is a little too familiar and conventional (which isn’t a bad thing), but you can find better alternatives that will rival the simplicity of this fragrance for a more reasonable price tag.


 

Fragrance Notes

Pink Pepper/ Jasmine/ Patchouli /Vanilla /Musk

Pure Poison / Dior

28 Sep

If you’re like me and love dual fragrances, then Pure Poison is the animal for you. This perfume is like two conflicting entities in one body; wicked and virtuous, tempestuous and noble, sensuous and innocent. This is a chameleon’s magic potion; an innocuous apple by day and a dangerous poison at night.

Upon first application, there are so many things vying for attention that it is difficult to pick out the individual notes, I sense jasmine and something woodsy, then vanilla and slight amber….but the dry down is creamy gardenia. It seems complex at first but the result is simply beautiful…there are no words to describe how unique this fragrance is on my skin. It smells exactly like its namesake, very sensual and extremely bewitching.


 

Top Notes
Orange/ Bergamot/ Jasmine

Middle Notes
Orange Blossom/ Gardenia

Base Notes
Sandalwood/ Cedar /Amber

 

Euphoria / Calvin Klein

28 Sep

Euphoria is one of Calvin Klein’s bestselling perfumes, and the reasons are in the notes: pomegranate, black orchid, and violet combine to create an intensely confident and beautiful fragrance that is indeed “euphoric”.

Euphoria manages to do for me what “La Vie Est Belle” by Lancome could not: give me a sense of happiness and intimacy on days where I may not be feeling quite so wonderful and self-assured. It’s also perfect for a few spritzes before bed, you get a sense of floating into sleep instead of just “falling” into it…I believe this is due to the orchid and woodsy notes…which is very soothing.

I agree with others that there is a slight masculine feeling to this perfume (perhaps why I felt so comforted by it?), but it isn’t obvious in any way. First impressions are of heavy pomegranate, followed by orchids but then it dries down to reveal the mahogany underneath…with more violets and the orchids more apparent. I sort of wished there would be more of the brown scent but that might have pushed it too far into the masculine side, overall I feel this is a much better alternative to La Vie Est Belle (they are indeed similar) if you find that fragrance just doesn’t suit you.

Sillage and longevity on me are both moderate.


Top Notes
Pomegranate
 
Middle Notes
Lotus/ Orchid
 
Base Notes
Violet/ Amber/ Musk/ Mahogany