Sensuous / Estée Lauder

15 Nov

Sensuous smells exactly like its namesake; this is one of those linear fragrances that don’t evolve very much but it smells so amazing that it doesn’t matter. This was close to becoming my signature scent, but I found it rather difficult to wear on a daily basis. It’s something that I reach for at night, after a hot shower…before bed, or for a quiet evening out with my husband.

Sensuous starts with a blast of sandalwood and cedar, these are the primary notes that can be picked out amongst the mellowing warmth of honey and amber. I sense a little pepper in between but it complements the woodiness of this fragrance so well that you can hardly separate the two. There is a bit of orange on the cool down which invokes a clean powdery feeling to the structure of this perfume. With the exception of ylang-ylang, I did not detect any florals.

I consider Sensuous to be one of my top five powdery fragrances, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever smelled before and I feel this is due to the unique nature of its ingredients. The honey and amber radiates with warmth and sensuality, it reminds me of silk sheets and vanilla body cream, very luxurious and decadent. At its heart this is a boozy powder with balsamic undertones and hints of warm incense.  It’s very feminine but not immature; this is unequivocally a woman’s fragrance.
Overall I am consistently enamored with Sensuous; as the seasons shift into December I find myself embracing it like a warm blanket before a roaring fire. I can imagine this to be a perfect companion for autumn and winter. Sillage and longevity are moderate, this is a skin scent meant to entice and seduce with ease; apparently it works…I am constantly under its spell!


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Shalimar Parfum Initial L’Eau / Guerlain

4 Nov

A part of me regrets the day that I first laid eyes on Initial L’Eau; I was going through some difficult circumstances and was eagerly anticipating the experience of something new and exciting. To top it off I was enduring the final throes of a virus infection, so my mind wasn’t completely prepared for some of the more fastidious notes in this composition.

This is a beautiful fragrance, I predicted it to smell exactly like how the bottle appears, and it does! This feels very vintage, feminine, and sensual in a pure and wholesome way. My only complaint is that the citrus notes are a bit overpowering; the initial spray was a blast of bergamot, iris and tonka bean. Then the vanilla and neroli pulls through and becomes the primary structure in which the grapefruit and orange notes build upon. Overall it’s a harmonious blend of fruits and florals, with just a tad of bitterness to capture your attention. Unlike other reviewers, I find the sillage to be pretty strong.

At first I thought the merging of powder and citrus to be such a strange combination but it works well together in L’Eau; you will feel as though you’ve been wrapped within pink clouds and bright sunlight. The dry down is very clean and optimistic; vanilla soothes much of the starkness and gives this fragrance a very delicate, feminine personality.

I see now that I haven’t fully realized my appreciation for Initial L’Eau, due to my having attached this fragrance with some bad memories. Unfortunately that is part of the journey with all fragrances; I’m hoping that I can one day revisit this unique perfume with perhaps a better frame of mind.


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L’Heure Bleue / Guerlain

3 Nov

I really tried to love L’heure Bleue, but somehow I can’t. There is something very animalic about this fragrance that reminds me of “skin” and play-doh; I love powdery scents but this one feels multifarious in nature.

Let’s start with expectations; everyone hails L’heure Bleue (or “the bluish hour”) to be a dualistic perfume, vital and important for its era. A hallmark to its kind, words such as sadness, loneliness, weariness and even hopefulness were used to describe this Guerlain creation.

I am a huge fan of this house and all of their innovations, but this is the only one which I’ve never understood, perhaps the issue is me; perhaps my nose isn’t refined enough…or that maybe I’ve lacked imagination. Either way, Bleue failed to extricate the feelings of despair and tragedy that I anticipated (for that I convey my desires to Mitsouko, the sibling to L’Heure Bleue).

Bleue smells like a romantic night, it’s intimate and slightly vulnerable, like a whispered secret between two lovers.  The scent is mysteriously carnal and smells of desire; I get the slight impression of seeing myself buried within a woman’s warm powdered bosom.

There are lots of irises in the opening, along with a musky carnation. Vanilla is very apparent throughout its life, but no doubt it is in accordance with the heliotrope that creates this very unpleasant doughy fragrance that makes me sick to my stomach. I’m not sure why but the Benzoin and cloves add on a very medicinal texture that also makes this rather unpleasant. I sense very little rose and citrus, ylang-ylang and tonka bean become a little more apparent in the dry down.

Even though I cannot truly appreciate the extent of its brilliance, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate its innovation. This is a high class fragrance, though wrought with unpleasantness (to me), I can easily see why this became such a masterpiece. Longevity is pretty good, though this quickly becomes a skin scent after an hour. Either way this is not a safe blind buy; but considering that Bleue is slowly disappearing off the market, it might be worth it to purchase anyway.


 

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Lolita Lempicka / Lolita Lempicka

3 Nov

Lolita Lempicka is mysterious and a little melancholic, it’s seductive and magical like a dark forest filled with the most enchanting creatures. This perfume is alluring and sensual but also feels a little virginal and innocent. This is a fairy tale romance, one that feels like a dream within a dream.

Opening notes are heavy with creamy licorice and spicy anise; violet is the most apparent floral in the primary stages and blends beautifully with the vanilla and cherry. I love tonka bean combined with licorice and praline notes as it gives this fragrance that uniquely “magical” essence that I can’t find in any other perfume. The best part comes after half an hour, the spiciness soothes down to a more subtle level with vanilla being the primary player, you can finally sense a little iris, musk and vetiver; combined they make a gorgeous powdery dry down. Unfortunately longevity is moderate and sillage is not very good. If you over apply however, I find that the heavy licorice and spices will make you mildly nauseous.

I absolutely adore Lolita, there is definitely a mystical/fantasy vibe to this fragrance. Although there are mature elements I cannot see myself wearing this seriously; it feels like something a Disney princess would wear and that is just not me. The most I’ll get from Lolita will be nostalgic longings for my childhood watching cartoons while waiting for my parents to pick me up from school, other than that it really doesn’t suit my personality. Overall a great scent for those seeking an escape from an ordinary world. ♥


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Jungle L’Elephant / Kenzo

3 Nov

Oh my goodness I feel like I’ve just fallen into the Christmas bin at the local department store. I’ve only managed one spray of L’Elephant before realizing how incredibly potent this fragrance is, seriously I can probably substitute my entire cabinet of seasonings with just this one bottle haha.  Kenzo’s Jungle feels like a holiday greeting card magically decanted into a perfume, if you were interested in the essence of Christmas then this fragrance has it in strides.

The opening to L’Elephant is an olfactory overload of cloves, cardamom, cumin, and caraway. It’s super strong; I can imagine this being a total nightmare for anyone with a slightly sensitive nose so you might want to exercise a little caution when wearing this around strangers. The top notes overwhelm every other ingredient so that I couldn’t pick out much else besides spices; it wasn’t until the dry down could I manage to distinguish bits of mango, ylang-ylang, and heliotrope. The best part doesn’t arrive until about 2 hours later when everything mellows out into a creamy vanilla base with hints of licorice and cumin. It smells like eggnog to me, maybe even a masala chai tea.

I would recommend anyone to try L’Elephant before buying; this is definitely not a safe impulse purchase. Yes it encapsulates the most joyous parts of the year, and for me it brings memories of Christmas comfort and lots of warm memories.  Overall highly recommended, this is one of those perfumes that will bring the holidays to your doorstep.


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Paris / Yves Saint Laurent

2 Nov

Paris is a musky rose that is both glamorous and old fashioned- in the best sense of the word. This feels like a vintage rose, the kind of flower you associate whilst growing up surrounded by sophisticated and charming women. This isn’t a mainstream floral, you won’t find the sweet innocent sexy girl in this one; Paris is meant for the regal woman. It took many tries before I got used to it but once the scene was set, there was no turning back. I felt so glamourous with Paris, so chic and classy while channeling the Hollywood Diva from within.

I own the EDP version and it is very floral heavy, you can sense every single flower that went into the making of this perfume. Rose is clearly the primary player here, along with heaping violets, and hyacinth. Iris, orris root, and musk combined with oakmoss turns this into a heavy powdery base, which becomes more prominent with the dry down. I pick up an earthy almost musty note somewhere between the viscous florals; it is very prominent and reminds me of a woman’s boudoir- full of makeup powder and lacey undergarments.

When I first encountered Paris I was instantly reminded of L’Heure Bleue by Guerlain, in fact this would have strong similarities to Bleue if it weren’t for the roses!  Paris feels like a Victorian gal’s fragrance: sensual but not overtly sexy, mature but never pretentious, witty and always impeccably coifed. She’s an aristocratic lady, who always gets what she wants.

That being said I wouldn’t apply too liberally, this perfume can easily become migraine-inducing and the muskiness becomes way too much for my nose. Projection is incredible, one spray lasts for hours and the fumes kept coming even after I showered. Longevity on my skin is so extensive that I lost count. Let’s just say that it will last you until the next day. Overall a very wonderful fragrance that is unconventionally stylish and timelessly sophisticated.


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Michael Kors / Michael Kors

31 Oct

I originally was going to wear Michael Kors for an evening out with friends, until I accidently spilled a 1.5 oz bottle on my dress. Even after a change of clothing, the perfume remains cloyingly against my skin and there it stayed haunting me throughout the day.
This fragrance to me is reminiscent of over-ripened fruit, too domineering without much restraint. The tuberose and lily are excessively pungent and concocted with a heavy hand; together they completely drown out all other notes, except maybe the osmanthus. This comes off very screechy on my skin, and makes me feel a little nauseated after a few hours.  For a white floral Michael Kors is unusually heavy and peppery; I detect no incense- just raw and creamy flowers.

The dry down smells like synthetic banana candy, like the ones you buy in those quarter machines, it’s sickeningly sweet and feels extremely processed. The projection is huge, with decent longevity; you will have to apply with a soft hand because the tuberose can easily overwhelm and become a bit unsettling after an hour.

Perhaps I am a little biased because I dislike tuberose in general, but they have never agreed with me. This is one of those fragrances that will never see the light of day in my wardrobe. Overall a great bargain if you’re a white floral lover but avoid if you can’t handle heavy scents.


 

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London for Men / Burberry

31 Oct

I have come to the conclusion that men’s fragrances can be much more complex and pleasing to the palate than the average woman’s winter lineup. My latest excursion with Burberry London has proven that perfumes are multifarious in nature, genderless and will appeal to practically anyone who can wear it with love and confidence. This is the perfect fall companion, much like a trench coat on a brisk Autumn day.

London opens up with strong cinnamon and tobacco notes; there is leather at the base and mild citrus to keep this feeling fresh. The bed of oak moss is what gives this perfume a very damp earthy scent that rounds out all the other notes. It smells like wet soil mixed with fresh lavender after a heavy rain. The cinnamon stays true through dry down along with a very surprising scent of roses, the tobacco is still there but it’s become softer and more sentimental. To me this is Thanksgiving in a bottle: warm, spicy, and reminds me of my grandfather’s library.

London is not a tough guy’s fragrance, in fact I feel this is more for the aristocratic gentleman; the kind who is a little old-school, has his head on straight, and doesn’t pussyfoot around the bedroom ;). He is strong willed and non-conventional, a straight shooter who is as likely to break your heart as he is to brighten your day with a soft kiss. On women this is strong, confident, and a slightly bitchy. I totally feel like I am channeling Lauren Bacall with a little whiskey and a cherry cigar. London fantastically transcends gender barriers and I love it.  ♥


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Rosabotanica / Balenciaga

31 Oct

I’m surprised mint was not listed as an ingredient on this; there certainly seems to be some kind of bitterness accompanying the rose and fig opening of this fragrance. Rosabotanica is a very green scent, I feel like I am standing in the middle of an English garden after a heavy spring shower, basking in the aroma of fresh flowers and wet grass. The dry down consists of cardamom, woods, and a very sheer rose. There is pepper throughout its life but I also sense a little saffron as well; grapefruit balances everything out to make this a very clean and energetic fragrance.

Rosabotanica isn’t particularly innovative; it’s a streamlined fragrance with a little twist. There’s something here that reminds me of Agent Provocateur, the rose is an Indian rose…not your conventional evening flower. I am absolutely in love with the dry down after about an hour, pink pepper balances so well with the florals that it’s a shame how soft the sillage is. It’s certainly a skin scent, with almost no projection and poor longevity.

Overall not exactly a game changer, but still very memorable and the bottle design is pretty enough to make it almost worthwhile.


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Poison / Dior

31 Oct

Poison is a power-house eighties perfume, and in my mind it conjures up images of giant shoulder pads and shiny purple spandex.  This is an extremely nostalgic experience; as a kid I’ve often associated these heavy fragrances with strong, powerful women who often wore grey business suits and had hair that was standing in place by large amounts of Aquanet. Poison often fell into the same territory as Passion by Elizabeth Taylor, and were usually worn by “scary” women who spoke too loudly and always had bright red lipstick to match their sharply painted fingernails.

Wearing any vintage perfume is going to be a blissful olfactory experience, good or bad…products back then were heavy and complex; there is no room for discretion and Poison is not meant for the timid at heart. We live in an age of prudent and linear fragrances; many are comfortable staying within the confines of those enclosed spaces.  A few will toe the line, but most will be repelled by the loudness and outrageous products that used to be the reigning kings and queens of the fragrance world. You may hate it- but you can’t deny that Poison and those of its kind have revolutionized the industry.

That being said, this fragrance has been horribly reformulated. Whatever happened to the intoxicating florals and strong (almost animalic) woodsy notes? This is truly a shadow of its former self- another unfortunate victim of the “dumbing down” of perfumes- it has been commercialized and no longer embodied the notorious character it once was.

The current poison opens up with a strong blast of plum and tuberose, it goes on thick and syrupy…and stays on for the entire duration of approximately 5-6 hours. I don’t sense a lot of changes in the dry down, but honey and amber makes a subtle appearance once the plum starts to soothe through to a manageable level. I am not a huge fan of tuberose but it is delicately masked by the heavy fruit and honey, I don’t sense smokiness but that is because the sweetness pretty much overwhelms any bitterness to this fragrance. Like other reviewers, I can’t easily pick out any of the base notes…it all seems to be a jubilee of different accords exploding in every direction all at once.

Overall Poison carries a sentimental vibe for those who have experienced the highs of its era, there’s a wistful ingenuity with these kinds of things. As time marches on all too swiftly and discarding its memories to the past; I suppose just the sense of being able to savor a piece of history (no matter how diluted) would be considered privilege enough.


Top Notes

Coriander/  Plum/  Wild berries / Anise / Rosewood

Middle Notes

Carnation / Jasmine /Orange Blossom/ Tuberose/ Opoponax/ Cinnamon/ Incense /Rose / Honey

Base Notes

Vetiver /Musk /Sandalwood /Cedar /Amber/ Vanilla/ Heliotrope