Friday, June 25, 2010

S-Perfume: S-eX

I was happy to return from my short vacation to Malaysia, and find S-eX waiting for me in the mail. The first impression I got when I smelled it: Ozonic Leather. What an odd play of accords! S-eX smells mineralic, salty, airy, and slightly animalic. Unsurprisingly, a metallic accord further stamps the "ozonic" impression it gives me.

Being quite of a leather fan (with huge expectations), I must say that I am quite impressed, albeit S-eX is a rather thin and almost transparent composition.

You might find S-Pefume to be a rather obscure house, and to my knowledge, they only have 3 scents in their line-up, but, you can rest assure that they aren't creations of some budding or aspiring perfumer. Christophe Laudamiel is a name behind a couple of high profiles scents, and you just need to google his name, to know you are in good hands.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Montale: Black Aoud

Can it get any more glorious? This is probably Montale's most talked about, and easily their "signature" of the Oudh line.

Rose, Oudh, Patchouli. Is it difficult to imagine that something as straight-forward and uncomplicated as this could turn out so beautiful? Well, our Middle-Eastern friends have probably been using and creating similar fragrance structures for ages. It is no wonder why this is a winning formula.

Black Aoud opens with an effortlessly smooth blend of Rose and Oudh. You'd expect the oudh to be medicinal, pungent and very prickly, but it isn't, unlike a couple of other Montale Aouds. The rose is what Black Aoud is built around. A sweet and lush rose, without all that cloying matter or powdery thickness. The sandalwood and patchouli give the oudh-infused rose a milky and earthy-textured dry-down.

The scent does not come across as overtly dark as its name would suggest, but rather goth-gone-bright. I find Black Aoud to be completely versatile to wear. Formal, casual, what have you. Did I say this lasts forever on skin too? Yes it does. This coming from a longevity-whore.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier: Jardin du Nil

Powdery Rose.

I've been hearing so much about the "dirty sock" accord in Jardin du Nil, and that made me even more keen to get my hands on it. So I picked up a vintage bottle of this, with all that talk on the sub-par reformulations of MPGs.

Yes. I definitely smell dirty socks - salty and musty. It opens with that, and a succulent rose syrup accord. Fortunately, that stinky aspect does not persist for more than the first half an hour. A thick cloud of a powdery florals (I get alot of Geranium) start to bloom and mask all that stink, with an accord of over-ripped berries (and possibly some other fruity notes) adding to the almost-cloying sweetness/thickness. All that is rounded up with very typical old-school amber and sandalwood base, that just leaves this scent nothing short of substantial.

I'm a huge fan of rose scents, with my favorites lying in Rose 31, Paestum Rose and handful of Montales. Jardin du Nil is however a different creature, a more traditional and less contemporary one, much in the vein of another rose monster, the animalic Aramis 900 - that I find to be JdN's slightly more butch counterpart.

I'm not sure how often I'd be in a mood for JdN, but it is no doubt a scent of substance - like an EDT of its era feels like an EDP of today.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier: Parfum d'Habit

I've been hearing good things about Parfum d'Habit (both the vintage and the current formulation) since I started on my fragrance obsession a couple of years ago, but never got down to trying or sampling it. I decided to pull the trigger on a recent deal I saw on a (current formulation) bottle, that was just too difficult to resist.

It would be easy for one to associate this with powerhouse masculines. To me, it is a rather well-behaved masculine. It isn't overly bold or opinionated.

PdH opens with a resinous green accord that is a little acrid and sourish, like soggy wood and leaves that have been soaked by rain. There is also a very blatant "cosmetics/foundation powder cake" accord (probably iris?) engulfing the entire scent at this point.

The musk and leather give it thickness and body, while the sandalwood and amber sweetens in just the right proportions. The patchouli counts for most of the earthy/soil-y make up.

I think of PdH as rather refined for a "macho" scent. Gentlemanly, bold, with a face of an old-fashioned charmer.

At some point, I would love to compare this with the vintage, but hearing how many actually find the current to be an "improved" version, I am not so much in a rush, for now.

Keiko Mecheri: Musc

There are days I just don't want to be bothered by olfactory mayhem. Days I just rather have my skin lightly scented, not perfumed.

Musc is the epitome of the "skin scent". It is extremely low-key, but easily fools with its "stealth" sillage. The first time I wore this, I was thinking to myself: I MUST BE ANOSMIC to almost everything Musc is made with. It was a little worrying, but I was quite prepared, having previously read some comments on the subtle character of this scent.

A little hasty, afraid I might miss something, I put my nose straight to my skin seconds after spraying, and the alcoholic blast numbs my senses a while. I take a few clean breaths, and attempt to sniff it again, and immediately identify a very ethereal, cardboard-like amber accord, lightly sweetened by a minute dose of tonka/vanilla. Each time I put my nose to my skin hoping the scent might speak to me more, it does just the opposite, eluding me more each time. But, throughout the wear, when I'm not trying to sniff and figure, I get constant pleasant whiffs of a scent that reminds me of skin that's just gone through a shower. Light, clean, breezy, extremely pleasant. The soft and almost seamless transition to the lovely and quiet white musk & sandalwood base is perfect (which mind you, goes on to last a good 8-10 hours).

Surprisingly, I felt extremely satisfied from that first wear (and subsequent ones), even though I never felt like I was wearing any fragrance the whole while.

It is easy to dismiss Musc you would imagine. But I find it absolutely fascinating how it exists as a linger, without having to make any statements.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Montale: Sliver Aoud

This would be Montale's sole(?) interpretation of the classic fougere. Typically, the lemon and bergamot dominate the opening of the scent, while the herbal, aromatic qualities of lavender join forces to create that familiar scent of the "80s" (or earlier).

While I do not distinctively detect a whole lot of oudh, there is a very blatant muddy accord that surrounds Sliver Aoud, that I suspect might be a facet of the elusive oudh.

As the citrus top starts to peel away, the sweetness of geranium/rose take on a more central role, and pretty much stays on for the entire wear.

I wouldn't think of Sliver Aoud as anything original or successfully innovative. The classic fougere genre is well-represented by many more prominent and defining icons. Silver Aoud would sadly blend into oblivion in this vastness.

Uninspiring, and redeemed only by a solid backbone of technical construction.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Montale: Oud Cuir d'Arabie

Medicinal. Leather.

I ordered this in extra perfume concentration and have been wearing it over the past week. I'm wearing it again this evening, and feel it is justifiable for me to sing some praises for this immaculately designed composition. Sure, this scents gets heaps of praises from fans and non-fans of Montale, and unfortunately or not, I am not able to break the choir up. This scent is good.

Unsurprisingly, the first thing that greets me is the anti-septic and sharp smell of oudh, pungent yet intoxicatingly addictive (I must sound like a broken record now). Before I know it, a few minutes in, the potent bitterness of premium leather comes bashing through the door. This combination is rather abrasive and loud, in a very good way. The leather stays on for the most part of the wear, hours later.

This scent isn't too difficult to understand. Oudh+Animalic Leather, cushioned by some faint florals and some smoke. Sensual, raw, bold and rugged.

If you're jaded by all the pseudo-leather scents flooding the mainstream, and looking for an untainted/unsweetened, realistic leather interpretation, Oud Cuir d'Arabie is one that you ought to sniff.

Parfumerie Generale: Cuir Venenum

I just received my bottle of Cuir Venenum and the word "Cuir" can be a little misleading here. Upon my first few sprays, I am met with a bubblegummy, fruity accord with some light floral undertones - tuberose is my guess, though I could be wrong. So this is the "burnt-jam" accord that is reported by retailers. Not at all what I was expecting from a name that suggests an intoxicating leather. I normally try my best not to associate an independent scent to another, but I couldn't help but be reminded of Serge Lutens Cedre, where a candied and sweetened tuberose is bolstered by some cedar, but only just.

As I allow the scent to sit and settle, and try to figure out where the leather is, I notice a bit of that coconut that has been listed, but just barely. It has been well hidden/blended in to add texture to the sweetness. But still no distinctive leather! The harder I try the more it seems to elude me. Ok, there is a slight rawness/bitterness to the scent, and maybe that's the leather, but I could just be trying to convince myself, too hard.

Myrrh? Not until the mid-stages does the myrrh start to loosen up and speak a little more, but acting only as supporting role in all that fruit-jam plot. But one would hardly consider the incense-y aspects of Cuir Venenum until they get past most of that sweetness.

Overall: A good quality fruity-floral bubblegum, with a cedar base.

Apart from the baffling name, I thoroughly enjoy this scent.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Montale: Red Aoud

So, a friend was telling me that Red Aoud in extra parfum concentration smells a little different from the regular. I went ahead to order it in extra parfum concentration anyways, since it was what I sampled from a decant months ago, and I loved it.

Are you a fan of iris? Saffron? Oudh? Well, you better be! Ok, Red Aoud's opening immediately boasts the robustly pungent and amoniac-like aroma of oudh. And, where the combination of iris and saffron hid their gourmand qualities in Felanilla, this same marriage decides to wrap the oudh up thinly with a chocolate-like veil, smoothening the slightly abrasive texture of the oudh, and serving up a gourmand oudh scent.

In between all that pseudo-chocolate goodness, you will notice a rather heat-y note - like that of a red pepper/chili of some sort. Red Aoud can well thank that chili note for giving it its oomph. It isn't as adventurous as it may come across. And like those chili-flavored chocolate bars you can find nowadays, Red Aoud is a well-balanced piece of work. And when the main players blow away, a really pleasant and smooth sandalwood base lingers on the skin, many hours later.