Elie Saab Le Parfum Eau de Toilette is the newest version of the original from 2011. This one is the quintessential vibrant feminine summer fragrance. The mandarin blossom greets with citrusy sweet sharpness and fills your nostrils in the most refreshing way. As Saab himself recounts his experience of living amidst orange trees in full bloom and the breeze carrying this ethereal scent through, top notes are reminiscent of precisely that. Freshness of the top notes floats throughout as gardenia floral core starts to appear more brightly upon drying. This one does not intensify as much as I would prefer it to once it dries down as the honey and rose in the base notes are somewhat understated. Vetiver adds that hint of woody freshness however the woodiness is only barely present. This one is a really fragrant and sparkling feminine fragrance inspired by the Mediterranean. I see it translating well into other products such as showers gels, bathing bars and so on. I personally find Elie Saab Le Parfum slightly coy and with little more tease, this one could have been special.
Today I am reviewing September 2014 launched feminine fragrance by the American fashion house Narciso Rodriguez. Narciso Eau de Parfum is one I had been wanting to review for a while now...ever since I laid eyes on its minimalist bottle with a milky core. I was intrigued as to what olfactory pleasures are encased within and simultaneously hoped it would appeal to my senses as much as the outer casing did. And I was more than pleased! I discovered an intoxicating sensual caressing scent that just begs to be experienced. It opens with fragrant top accords heavy with floral tones of rose and gardenia, these however create a milky balmy blend as they trail into the middle notes. Soft sensual milky creamy notes lurk in the background which is in fact why I fell in love with this scent. Base notes comprise of sweet woody notes of cedar and freshness from vetiver that really round off the fragrance in a delicate way. This one is austere yet very present, pure yet seductive and lingers dreamily.
My obsession with fragrances of oriental character continues with Leather Blend by Davidoff. Though this one is not an Oud fragrance, like the ones I have reviewed in the past week, one cannot miss the latest offering from Davidoff especially if it's in the form of uncompromised quality elegantly packaged and presented by using only the rarest raw ingredients. Leather Blend is a spicy oriental mix which opens with saffron and pepper that leave a tingling tickling spiciness that lingers on. Rose quickly comes through to add that intoxicating fresh fragrant note, combined with the warm sweetness from amber. Leather notes quietly maintain themselves in the background along with the austere papyrus. This one is indeed a beautiful blend that is very relevant at the moment. It is likely to resonate with many people who wish to experiment and experience oriental commercial modern fragrances.
Rose and Oud can do no harm and Oud Ispahan is a testament to that! Dior has in past launched some very elegant fragrances and this one launched in 2012, is unique in its own right. Though the combination of Oud and rose is not new, to be fair there are some truly charming traditional 'Mukhallat' out there , however Oud Ispahan maintains the elegance that Dior stands for. The fragrance opens with deep ambery Labdanum quickly followed by sweet woody notes of Patchouli. Rose is the theme for this fragrance and is present throughout in luxurious abundance. However this scent is not all sweet and feminine, in fact it's dry down where the sandal notes coupled with agarwood are dense and slightly animalic, make for an androgynous scent in my opinion. I really enjoy this abstract rosy blend. It is not very complex and certainly rates high in the realm of popular opinion!
"The fragrance aims to evoke the best quality of Hashish. It is a result of a quest to arouse the effects of temporary bliss..." This was the intent behind the illusive Black Afgano by Nasomatto. I personally don't pick up on hash as much as I smell the rich resinous Oud, which unlike in a lot of other Oud fragrances out there, is very well blended and supported by ingredients that truly enhance its rich notes. The green opening notes of cannabis are quick to fade and what is revealed is a beautiful luxurious core that's infused with bitterness of coffee, dry tobacco woodiness carefully balanced by warm sweet resin. Notes from agarwood and incense linger subliminally in the background. This one is a smooth oriental blend that's both modern and rooted in tradition. It isn't dirty or 'offensive' as certain Oud blends can be. No perfumery closet should be complete without this collectible.
Furthering my Oud 'expedition' I have with me Gucci Oud by Gucci today. This is a fairly recent launch, July 2014 to be precise and is an endeavour by the fashion brand to ride the wave of oriental inspired fragrances being interpreted by Major fashion brands in recent times. Though it's being touted as a unisex fragrance I would slot this as a feminine rose oud fragrance. Gucci oud opens with sharp sweetness of raspberry and pear along with soft bittersweet notes of Saffron, which is a wonderful ingredient to have in romantic oriental blends. The heart of this fragrance is abundant with rose and fragrant orange blossom. Patchouli and amber musk infusions enhance the deep sensual oud that peeps very lightly from the background. This in my opinion is a commercial take on oud blends, is a modern interpretation definitely and will be perfect for oud novices as it is more floral/fruity than woody/oudy.
Second one from my Oud week is Tobacco Oud from the coveted fashion house Tom Ford's Private Blend collection. This one is a very heavy concoction of luxuriously bold ingredients that create a blend that's both rich and dry. The first cloud of spray is arresting, infused with a resinous sweetness. This sweetness is deep and burnt that blends beautifully with dry smokiness of the tobacco. This sweet smoky opening quickly paves way for a woody core. Patchouli that's sweet coupled with rich milkiness of sandalwood creates a complex green woody heart for this fragrance. The agarwood completes and compliments the green woodiness and sobers down the chargrilled clinical smokiness of tobacco. Though this fragrance remains smoky through and through, sweet whiskey notes which are more cognac than whiskey add that bitter indulgent moreish appeal. One cannot miss the spiciness that lingers in the background throughout. This fragrance is definitely not for the faint hearted , it is very mature and complex. It is not gender specific or even era specific. It's worldly and regal and slightly rough.
For the next few days I will be reviewing a couple of Oud Fragrances...and today I have with me Tiger Oud by Roberto Cavalli. This is from the oud series of fragrances launched by the fashion house in 2013, that showcased a range of oriental fragrances by this European brand. This one opens with richness from rose that quickly trails into a deep leathery core along with gourmand notes in the background. The base notes comprise of amber which is a usual enhancement in oud scents and adds a luxurious warm crispness. There is also woodiness from agarwood and incence that make this fragrance linger. Roberto Cavalli is a brand that represents luxe indulgence, bold confidence of the very self aware woman of today and blatant sexiness that this fragrance really embodies. It's definitely not feminine in the delicate and soft romantic way but it's sexiness is heady in an almost carnal way.
Today I have with me a fragrance for only the 'gentlemen' out there! Gentlemen Only by Givenchy is a modern homage to the classic from 1974 original, relaunched in 2013. This one definitely carries the classic vibe with citrusy, nutty and spicy tones. On the first spray sweet fresh citrus from orange is very dominant and quickly fades to reveal the spicy undertones of pink pepper, and nutmeg. Middle notes are classically woody with cedar and patchouli and the cool green herbal note of vetiver. Incense in the base notes allows this fragrance to linger on and musk rounds off the blend. As the top notes evaporate slightly, the fragrance remains sweet and spicy all the way through with a modern masculine touch that the muskiness brings. It lingers on and I would imagine myself breathing in this scent if my partner were to wear it. The fragrance represents the modern man to be sexy, sharp and crisp and is classy in the way only a gentleman would know how to be.
She Wood by the sexy and cool fashion brand Dsquared was launched in 2008 following the success of He Wood. This one is a beautified enhanced version of its male counterpart with citrus and floral inclusions. However it isn't a completely feminine fragrance and has an androgynous vibe to it thereby pushing it more in the unisex slot. There is an immediate burst of citrus from lemon that dominates the top notes, along with fresh floral jasmine and neroli. The middle notes also have a floral tone with generous amounts of violet and heliotrope but it is the musk in the middle notes that add a masculine edge to the floralcy. It is not until the base notes that you smell "wood", which are made up of cool notes of cedar, vetiver and amber. This fragrance did stir up my memory as I felt I knew the smell from a long time ago. Like the smell of a very old room freshener, however a pleasant familiar and comforting one.
I have with me Valentina Eau De Parfum by Valentino which was launched in the September of 2011. There are few fragrances around that spell glamorous and sophisticated, sexy and elegant all the same time and the Valentina line of fragrances happen to do just that. They say never judge a book by its cover but the minute I laid eyes on these bottles at an airport Duty free in 2011 with their delicate yet structured floral adornments I knew I could expect a beautiful smooth well bodied fragrance inside. And I was right. The fragrance starts off with freshness from bergamot and truffle that adds certain richness. The notes mostly fade to reveal the sweet floral heart infused with jasmine, orange blossom, and tube rose. Strawberry in the middle notes adds fruity sweet-sourness that give this fragrance it's free spirited sexy vibe. The dry down is also wonderful. Vanilla makes the entire blend smooth and cedar and amber round it off really well. I give it props for its suppleness and the bottle is worth decorating on a mantle.
we talk about Cedar. The wonderfully intoxicating woody smell of cedarwood oil is capable of transporting you to a cozy mountain chalet or a walk in the woods. The sample I have with me today is that of the Himalayan Cedarwood oil which is balsamic and sweet while being very woody. It's Virginian counterpart which is also known as Red Cedar is drier and pencil-like in its odor profile. It is one of the most loved woody note especially for its fixative effects in woody-floral compositions. In natural perfumery it blends well with other more fragrant "cheerful" notes, say citrus or floral. It supports beautifully as a calming, pure and typically woody base note perhaps in oriental compositions, or floral musky blends especially for masculine fragrances or warm and spicy blends that combine floral tones, spices and aromatic leaves. Personally for me it is an aroma I can't have enough of because it's austere and sombre and damp and dry all at the same time. Commonly Cedarwood travels to perfumers around the world from Himalayas, Morocco (Atlas mountains) and Virginia (Us).
Light Blue for women by D&G was launched in 2001 as a summer scent. It is a crispy fruity floral scent that is definitely light as it stays true to its name. This is one of those holiday fragrances that stay in your memory a long time especially owing to its association with that time or place or the mood. It stays primarily because it is an easy breezy fresh fragrance that evokes the scent of light blue sea under the summer sun. The top notes sparkle of green apple and lemon with hints of cedar and bell flower...the citrusy opening trails into more flowery middle notes with white rose and jasmine coming through. An interesting inclusion in its core is bamboo that's slightly dry and grassy. Base notes round off this fragrance with amber and musky notes. It is definitely not the most unique summery fragrances but isn't unappealing either primarily owing to the fact that it is effortless. While I would give it props for it's sparkling freshness it rates low on ingenuity.
Today I am reviewing this wonderful fig scent Philosykos by Diptyque. It was launched in 1996 and since been met with wonderful reviews from people all around the world. Diptyque fragrances are special. They are special in the sense of being inimitable and unconventional. Philosykos opens with a wave of herbal notes of from fig leaf and that honey syrupy sweetness from figs. One can feel the careful balance of figs and the play with creamy coconut that it quickly trails into. Middle notes are milky and smooth with hints of that herbal greenness all perfectly rounded. The base notes give the fragrance an overall natural and effortless feel with inclusions of cedar woody notes. This fragrance is delicate and uncomplicated with each note easily decipherable. It is a perfect spring summer scent as it has a special ability to transcend its wearer to a different time. It's simple in the way simple should be and yet it's subtlety is embalming.
Mont Blanc Legend. It was launched in the spring of 2011. A powerful name but does it live upto to it? Partially yes and many would argue no, but then it's all subjective anyway. However like all scents some people tend to wear this one better than others. It's top notes open with a strong zest of citrusy sweetness from bergamot and pineapple, a pinch from lavender and lemon verbena. But this one does get smoother as the top notes evaporate slightly with the middle notes coming through more prominently. The core is a composition of coumarin a popular ingredient in fougere family of scents, oak moss, fresh sweetness from red apple, geranium and rose. These trail into the base notes that add woodiness a prerequisite of almost all masculine fragrances. This one is meant for all day wear however it can tend to smell like a slightly beautified after shave splash. That is not entirely a bad thing as refreshing with a hint of woody always smells good on a man.
Blooming Bouquet, the 2014 spring launch is the latest in the Miss Dior line. It maintains the fruity floral musky blend with a few enhancements. The top notes open with fresh sweet mandarin and the heart of this composition is a juicy sweet concoction abundant with pink peony, rose, peach and apricot. Musk in the base rounds off the entire fragrance. This one is a pleasant sweet feminine and elegant fragrance but does not surprise. It is a simplified and less complex slightly generic version of other fragrances in the line. I personally am drawn to off beat fragrances key ingredients that are key to the fragrance and this one leaves much to be desired. On the up side this one has wide appeal is pleasant enough for everyday wear and makes a great gift to maybe your mom, sister a best friend.
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A fresh new approach to perfumery from the eyes of a wanderer and an artistic explorer by bringing unique perfume presentations that remain true to the eclectic spirit of TLN.
I am Avantika Bedi.
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