Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cereus: Pour Homme No. 14

This opens with a citrus-woody-(lavender maybe) aromatic blend. The cognac reveals itself almost immediately and instantly reminds me of Escada Pour Homme. There is a subtle milky-smooth texture that seems to be an attribute of the amber-musk accord. I also detect what seems like basil leaf in mid-stages. The composition remains a rather sweet one throughout the wear and dries down into a smooth woody-green base. Nothing mind-blowing, but I really enjoy the warmness this exudes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Parfumerie Generale: Aomassai

Into gourmands? Pierre Guillaume intellegently combines caramel and toasted hazelnut to present an aroma reminding me of hazelnut toffee. I get an olfactory image of hazelnuts glazed with caramel, then toasted lightly. Yummy!

There is an oily, slightly rubbery texture to Aomassai that I just can't seem to wrap my head around to figure what it is. This candy is rounded up smoothly with some spice, incense, resin and wood, giving the scent more substance in its dry down, while balancing out that caramelized sweetness.

Aomassai is certainly a pedestal-worthy gourmand in my collection. Do not worry, this isn't your typical sickly-sweet, overly-cloying or lactonic-dessert-wannabe. You will probably not find another work similar to Aomassai in the current market.

Creed: Original Santal

If anything, this is a rather toothless sandalwood fragrance. It opens with a candied berry accord (one that is similar to that in Paco Rabanne XS Pour homme) that is supported slightly by a cooling (almost minty), aromatic lavender accord (I don't get the raw/herbal kind in this). The over-sweetness pretty much wraps up everything and you get traces of the tonka and vanilla in the dry down. Wait, where's the sandalwood?

I've regretted a few Creed purchases, this is one of them.

Death by sweetness.

Creed: Silver Mountain Water

Silver Mountain Water is fantastic for a fresh (not a favorite genre of mine) fragrance. I'm not particularly a fan of the citrusy opening, but I really enjoy the tea and black currant marriage, held together by a thin, slippery/silky-textured soap-musk accord (common in many Creeds) that sets it apart from many other designer citrus/fruity scents. This has to be one of the better contemporary releases from Creed.

Farmacia SS. Annunziata dal 1561: Ambra Nera

Ambra Nera starts off with a sugary combination of honey and vanilla, before revealing moments later, some herbs (eucalyptus mostly) and incense (giving the scent a balsamic tinge). This odd yet alluring concoction does give off whiffs resembling dried urine (probably attributed to honey and herbs), but not so much in a repulsive sense. As it dries down, it starts to get a little smokier and woodier. A rather lightweight herbal-amber.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Parfum d'Empire: Equistrius

Er, no, the scent has nothing to do with horses.

At first whiff, the thick and fruity iris is almost an over-kill. But let it settle for a while and you will notice how the steamed rice accord compliments and amps the doughy smell/texture of the iris, pushing the fruity accords slightly into the background now, but still borrowing the fruity sweetness.

Interestingly, a rather briny/salty accord reveals an ozonic dimension to Equistrius, and I really quite enjoy this addition here. All this is built on a powdery and smooth sandalwood base that it eventually dries down to.

Iris is one of my favorite notes, and I suspect my expectations can be a little higher when I meet an iris-centric fragrance. Equistrius definitely gets the thumbs up from me.

Eau d'Italie: Paestum Rose

A casual, slightly-spiced, thin/light rose that is bolstered by some incense, and given depth with some woods. I love how the scent progresses, leaving behind a close-to-skin incense, as the rose starts to fade away. Sweet, but not diabetic. Rose refinement.

This is probably one of my favorite Bertrand Duchaufour creations. Perfectly suitable for warmer days, and doesn't get too stuffy.

L'Artisan Parfumeur: L'Eau Du Navigateur

Pirates sure love their coffee and rum. There are only 2 coffee scents that I would wear, and this is one of them (the other being Yohji Homme). When you combine rum, resinous coffee, spices and a little smoke and woods, you are presented with this artfully blended composition that exudes a rustic, old-world charm. Nothing too heavy or over-whelming. One of the few L'Artisan scents that actually do better in the longevity department. ARRrrrr!

L'Artisan Parfumeur: Tea For Two

Perfect name for a scent. I can imagine enjoying this scent on myself, and on my significant other. Smoky, gingery, honeyed Lapsang Souchong (Black Tea) given a nice milky/creamy texture by vanilla. Warm, cozy and smells like something I'd love to drink. Yes, another Olivia Giacobetti masterpiece. Yes, she is good!

L'Artisan Parfumeur: Vanilia

Candied. Vanilla. Syrup.

Okay, okay, it's got a dash of spice, floral and smoke. I actually quite enjoy this one. Comforting, but not in a yummy way. Simple, straightforward, unsurprising vanilla. While I do concede that it probably wears better on a lady, I find myself reaching for it when I'm in the slightly playful mood for something uncomplicated.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lubin: Idole de Lubin

It opens with some rum-soaked dry citrus and fizzy saffron, in a light cloud of smoke. Then it settles effortlessly into a smooth and quiet sandalwood. Very low-key, but very well-done. Typical of Olivia Giacobetti.

Parfum d'Empire: Cuir Ottoman

A thick, woody leather, with a very good dose of buttery iris. There is a sweet ambery and resinous complexion to Cuir Ottoman that makes this composition a rather rich one. One of the best leather representations I have experienced.

Parfumerie Generale: L'Ombre Fauve

A soft, creamy, animalic, musk galore surrounded by dry woods and some patchouli. A slightly sweetened vanilla, and some smoke adds an ambery and dusty dimension to this gently-consuming beast, as it starts to settle on skin. If you need an idea of what to expect, think: Unscented soap.

I *never* bothered with musks and animalics until I smelled this. Holy-grail material.

PG scents are never difficult to understand. You never have to crack your mind to figure out what's going on in them. What's written (basic notes) on the boxes, are a true reflection of what to expect from the juices. This is a perfect testament of simple, quality, goodness.

L'Artisan Parfumeur: Fou d'Absinthe

Herbal-green, resinous, with a nice touch of sweet spices. Another marvelous and understated work of Olivia Giacobetti.

L'Artisan Parfumeur: Navegar

I get lime, melon, pepper, and a cedar base. Did I say typical? Well, for a light, breezy citrus scent, I can't fault it for being extremely pleasant and easy-going. There is so much more out there that is worth more attention than Navegar.

Martine Micallef: Vanille Aoud

The vanilla here is a highly sweetened, wholesome and gourmandy one. Substantial and creamy. What is interesting here is how the zingy aroma of oudh compliments the vanilla and sets it apart from being a typical vanilla gourmand. One would most likely find the caramel+vanilla combo strikingly similar to the one in Un Bois Vanille of Serge Lutens. It is the oudh that gives Vanille Aoud a different complexion, and a little more substance. This is a pretty straight-forward scent. The name fits the concoction perfectly. Sweet-toothed vanilla lovers alert!

Annick Goutal: Encens Flamboyant

The resinous opening in Encens Flamboyant is nicely and softly surrounded by a little dose of spice and herb. It then works its way to settle into a well-behaved, misty incense and smoked-wood scent. A rather understated fragrance. Love it.

Annick Goutal: Ambre Fétiche

The opening reminded me of plain biscuits (crackers), weirdly. It doesn't start off sweet, but works its way slowly into a rather conventional smoky vanilla base that is very lightly spiced. While I enjoy it, it is hardly mind-blowing. I would have preferred a little more intensity in this one.

Serge Lutens: Ambre Sultan

The Sultan opens with a bag of heavily spiced dried/preserved fruits, tickling the nose a little. If spice is not your cup of tea, you may probably find this a little off-putting at first sniff. It almost resembles a certain kind of medicated balm/rub that is commonly found in South East Asia - Tiger Balm. Slowly, but very noticeably, Ambre Sultan starts to shed that spiciness and reveal a very smokey, incensed accord effortlessly supported with well-contained honeyed vanilla sweetness. This is such a complex and wonderfully crafted amber potion. More than 6 months on, and it still continues to amaze me.

Parfum d'Empire: Eau De Gloire

Eau de Gloire opens with a rather tingly-sharp, spicy-green citrus with a raw herbal tinge of lavender. As the sharp opening settles and blows away, the smokiness starts to reveal itself, and I am left with an herbal, leathery, smokey and slightly vinegary base. For an eau de toilette, I am very impressed at longevity and sillage. This is my go-to when I am in the mood for an eau de cologne-esque scent.

Serge Lutens: Gris Clair

Gris Clair opens with a cooling lavender accord presented in typical syrupy (but not thick) fashion. It then works its way into an ambient, smoky vanilla + wood base. Simple, pleasurable and extremely well-suited for the tropical Singaporean weather.

Serge Lutens: Muscs Koublaï Khän

My nose gets a sweet opening of civet and rose. At times I'm reminded of the odor of dried sweat. Though I find the vanilla/amber accords to be rather subdued, I notice how they add depth to the composition, while the scent manages to maintain a thinness to it, that feels transparent. An intimate, salty-sweet civet oriental. So what if I smell like the zoo?

*New proud owner thanks the fragrance deities for MKK's release to the export range*

Serge Lutens: Cèdre

I love Cedre, given my general partiality for Tuberose. But I am left wondering each time I wear Cedre: Am I not wearing Tuberose Absolute and some fruit candy flavoring? It certainly seems like it. Lush, candy floss Tuberose. Someone's got the names mixed up (should have been called Bois de Tubéreuse), so don't be blind-buying this expecting cedar. Expect a highly enjoyable and wearable Tuberose, and you will not be disappointed. Any cedar you are able to detect, is a nominal bonus.

Montale: Blue Amber

Blue Amber opens soft and smooth with rose and spice sitting comfortably on top a pastry-smelling amber accord, with shades of vanilla and honey attributing sweetness and texture. Syrupy, but not cloying. Invoking an image of a silky-gold amber nectar. And like most of Pierre Montale's offerings, Blue Amber lasts and lasts and lasts....

Farmacia SS. Annunziata dal 1561: Patchouly Indonesiano

Like patchouli? Not enough. You need to love patchouli to enjoy this one. This feature of Indonesian patchouli is herbal, very earthy, soil-like, moist and smooth patchouli with some natural sweetness. There is a slight "heaty" feel to it - the sensation you get when you smell a heat rub - just mildly so. You will not need another patchouli scent after this one. Not quite a robbery of a retail price at 160USD for 100mls of parfum.

Serge Lutens: Iris Silver Mist

Iris Silver Mist is not reflective or typical of a Serge Lutens oriental, and neither does it employ the house's cult-famous syrupy nature. It opens with what smells strikingly like raw, fresh-cut carrots. The spicy-heaty-tingly aroma of clove, and some leafy note start to graduate and intensify with time, playing equally-starred roles as the iris, conjuring an image of a misty, incense-y cloud of earthy and raw iris, absolutely fitting of the name - Iris Silver Mist. The scent does not seem to develop much farther than this. This is very unique to, and much drier than most of the Iris-dominated scents out there. I prefer a few others over Iris Silver Mist. A good thing too, since this bell-jar exclusive is not the easiest to come by.

Parfum d'Empire: Ambre Russe

Probably the best amber scent in my personal collection, and my favorite among the Parfum d'Empire line-up, Ambre Russe opens with an accord that smells like bitter dark chocolate and incense. It then reveals a heart that smells like whiskey and some leather. When everything else blows away, a light skin scent of honeyed and spiced dried tea lingers on top of a minimal dash of vanilla. Glorious. Satisfyingly intense. Hard liquor and amber. If you're thinking that this might cost a bomb, you'd be surprised to know that Parfum d'Empire offers rich, quality niche fragrances at not-so-niche prices.

Parfumerie Generale: Felanilla

Now, Parfumerie Generale is a house that has immensely interested and impressed me in recent months. Masterminded by perfumer Pierre Guillaume (PG, get it?) who is also a chemist, Parfumerie Generale offers scents that are quirky yet un-challenging, reeking of quality oils. My first encounter with this house came in the form of a decant of Felanilla, thanks to a friend and fellow fragrance enthusiast. Felanilla is not your typically sweet, creamy vanilla concoction. It isn't a gourmand as well. It combines oily, slightly carroty and buttery iris; fizzy-spicy saffron, medicinal-smelling banana wood, and sweet hay to give the smoky vanilla base an animalic and slightly anti-septic complexion. Intoxicatingly good.

My only gripe: Even for a skin-scent, it ought to have much better longevity! It is an "Eau De Parfum Intense" after all...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Nasomatto: Duro

Wow. This is the He-Man of woody ambers. Dry, medicinal and spiced. Like vapors of newly lacquered wooden furniture, it can either really annoy, or deeply satisfy. The bottle wouldn't cost you an arm. Maybe just a couple of arm-chairs.