Sunday, 30 August 2015

Grand Bal Review




One of the weaker links in Dior’s Collection Privée line, Grand Bal is essentially a lightweight, jasmine soliflore. The central, Hedione brightened white theme carries lily of the valley nuances and is surrounded by some standard smelling, watery-metallic green notes. After an hour or so on skin however, the composition has all but run its course, and what remains is a nondescript, jasmine tinged, starchy-clean musk fond. 

Nose: François Demachy
House: Dior
Release date: 2012
Notes (per Fragrantica): musk, jasmine, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, bergamot. 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Tom Ford Noir Pour Femme Review


Compared to the rather excellent Noir (marketed to men), one can’t help but feel the new pour femme flanker leaves Tom Ford’s female audience short-changed. 
Noir pour femme has nothing to do with the original, being instead a vanillic desert bomb. Lurking behind the thick fug of (ethyl-)vanillin and clean musks is an impression of leather perhaps hinting at saffron and if you sniff your skin after 10 hours and a shower, you’ll still be able to smell some very persistent woody odorants (Javanol etc.). Signed by Sonia Constant, Noir pour femme is, of course, well composed and does what it (presumably) sets out to do fine. But it’s a disappointingly cynical release all the same. 

Nose: Sonia Constant
House: Tom Ford
Release date: 2015
Notes (per Fragrantica): bergamot, bitter orange, mandarin, ginger, rose, jasmine, orange blossom, kulfi, vanilla, amber, sandalwood, mastic. 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Tom Ford Noir Review



Tom Ford’s Noir is a daring, tenebrous take on the bergamot-patchouli-opoponax structure so masterfully explored in the Guerlain classics Shalimar and Habit Rouge. 
It opens with a fresh, agrestic-citrus accord centred around bergamot that’s taken in an oily, green direction with violet leaf. Black pepper serves for spicy contrast and together with a civet note of unusual intensity, introduces the titular ‘noir’ theme. The similarities with J.-P. Guerlain’s masterpiece Habit Rouge become most apparent in the heart, where the herbal complex is softened with powdery orris and plenty of opoponax. In distinction however, the patchouli here is very much brought to the fore and encouraged to express its full range, from the camphorous through the earthy to the ambery. The latter facet, in combination with the opoponax, then links to a musky-vanillic Oriental base that retains a slight animalic vibe. 
Makes me wish I liked to wear patchouli more!

Nose: Olivier Guillotin
House: Tom Ford
Release date (2012)
Notes (per Fragrantica): bergamot, verbena, caraway, pink pepper, violet, black pepper, nutmeg, iris, geranium, rose, clary sage, opoponax, amber, patchouli, vetiver, civet, vanilla. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Armani Review (vintage EdT)

Now discontinued, Armani was a thoughtfully created aldehydic floral chypre. Its opening is soapy and green-in-a-galbanum way with a touch of tropical fruitiness perhaps coming from some allyl amyl glycolate. My sample is labelled ‘1990’ and definitely has a well-macerated feel to it: if there were any sharp edges, these have been rounded with time and the perfume moves effortlessly to a classical floral heart of jasmine, a little rose and lily of the valley that’s extremely well blended. Like many of its genre and era, Armani comes across as a bit aloof, but it warms up significantly in the base when the animalic labdanum really shines through the starchy musk complex. 

Nose: Unknown
House: Giorgio Armani
Release date: 1982
Notes (per Fragrantica): aldehydes, pineapple, mint, galbanum, marigold, bergamot, cyclamen, tuberose, orchid, orris, jasmine, lily of the valley, rose, narcissus, sandalwood, tonka, amber, musk, benzoin, labdanum, oakmoss, cedar. 

Friday, 7 August 2015

Cio Cio San Review


The first five minutes of Cio Cio San’s development are the most distinguished, consisting of a tart citrus accord that has a bright, citral-like clarity. This is underpinned however, by a waxy, metallic greenness and a vaguely rosy floralcy that comes off smelling plasticy and cheap in a functional-fragrance type way. If you want the chance to catch the bitter tea and light amber base, best to sniff Cio CIo San on paper; on skin, I can barely detect the perfume after an hour and I’m left wondering which is the more audacious: asking customers to swallow the $375 price-tag or the fact that a perfume playing on a tired, Orientalist trope is being presented in a flacon resembling a Roman column topped by a faux marble bust? 
No-No San.

Nose: Cécile Zarokian
House: MDCI Parfums
Release date: 2015
Notes (per Fragrantica): yuzu, lemon, ginger, grapefruit, cherry blossom, peony, litchi, tea, guaiac wood, cedar, musk.