Thursday, June 28, 2007

Humble Apologies

Work is in my way! No rest for the weary, I'm afraid, and no time to share my thoughts with you. For Guerlain "week," so far I've worn Rue de Paix, Metallica (oh my!), and Parure (okay, that's a favorite, not a new sample for me...I cheated a little today), and I promise to have thoughts on these and others in the near future.

Have a lovely evening everyone!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Guerlain Chant d'Aromes

This "week" (because my perfume weeks are like dog years) I'll be sampling a different Guerlain fragrance each day, and today's is Chant d'Aromes.

Top: mandarin, bergamot, honeysuckle
Heart: gardenia, jasmine, ylang-ylang
Base: sandalwood, earthy forest note, vanilla

This baby's a puzzle. The whole of this scent is classic, recognizably Guerlain, but with a twist. For I swear, and I don't know if it's my personal chemistry or if it's the scent itself, but this one has a bit of what I can only call stank to it. And what, pray tell, is stank? Well, it's a bit of something dirty underneath the ladylike floral goings on up top. It's rich dark earth mixed with something I can only characterize as slight decay, the never-ending work of nature of pushing life up from the soil and then somehow demanding its return.

The bergamot is bright enough, but made slightly bitter by the mandarin and tamed by the honeysuckle. The (mostly) white floral heart here is dirtier and less heady than you might expect, but without losing the fresh scent of new blooms. That earthy forest note has to be the thing working its magic, the dark rich compost of forest and flower, made palatable through sandalwood and vanilla. I know I must not be making it sound very attractive, but it is--clean yet deep, it makes me want to go dig around in the small forest behind my house. It makes me want to plant things and call them out into life.

*photo from ScentDirect

Thursday, June 21, 2007

L'Aromarine Vetyver

I've said before that one of the best things about L'Aromarine, besides their prices and their ethical standards, are their adorable bottles. Luckily, their bottles hold some really nice juice as well, long-lasting, friendly scents. Okay, okay, friendly scents might not be anything to write home about, but being uppity can be tiresome.

While L'Aromarine Vetyver comes nowhere near my favorites from this vetiver "week" I've been having--those would be the Guerlain, the L'Artisan, and the Malle (Oh, I know. Uppity. Hush.)--I find it quite enjoyable to wear. The only thing that frustrates me about this one is that I cannot seem to find the notes anywhere, and there's simply no way this is a soliflore. The top is my least favorite part of this fragrance, being rather sweet and citrusy, something akin to limeade. Fortunately that fades after about ten minutes into a soft vetiver, and then that softens even further. I swear I smell sandalwood and musk in there with the vetiver, sitting close to the skin, actually making for a rather sensual and comforting experience. I felt I carried a bit of calm with me the last couple of days because of it.

And seriously, look how cute the label on that bottle is! That's the larger bottle, too, the $23.00 one. Yes! I said $23.00!

And while we're on the subject, if you spend $85.00 on fragrance at b-glowing, you get the following as a "free" gift:
L'Aromarine Oceane 1.6 oz
Crazylibellule & The Poppies 5g (assorted)
Kai Perfume Sample Vial
Filles des Iles Perfume Sample Vial (assorted)
Yosh Sample Vial (assorted)

Just use the certificate code "scent" when you check out. Good while supplies last.

*Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with b-glowing. I'm just a consumer like you are, and I'm on their mailing list. Just thought I'd pass along the news if you're interested!

*photo from

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Santa Maria Novella Vetiver and Frederic Malle Vetiver Extroidinaire

Go ahead and take away my perfume blogging license, for I do not like Santa Maria Novella Vetiver. Perhaps it would smell better on Bob. On me? Industrial strength cleanser, over a base of mildew. I swear I smell Scrubbing Bubbles. From Italy.

On the other hand (literally, I've been wearing one on the left and one on the right) I have Frederic Malle's Vetiver Extroidinaire, which, according to the FM site, is made up of 25% vetiver (That's right, folks! The highest concentration available without a prescription from a French perfumer!) and "five woody notes to play up the scent's various facets." Ever go to see a band and they sound like five or six people just standing on stage playing their instruments without much thought to anyone else on the stage? Well, this is not that band. Vetiver Extroidinaire has the same wonderful dry herbal scent as L'Artisan Vetiver, that musty incense quality that's both refreshing and cozy, yet utterly sophisticated. Full of grassy, woody harmony, this one is.

Come on. You can't be surprised I like the Malle. I never met a Malle I didn't like. (Well, okay, I met one, but it didn't like me first, so it's not my fault.)

Monday, June 18, 2007

More Vetiver Samples to Come!

I am still working the vetiver samples, but an inflamed rotator cuff (not nearly as glamorous as it sounds) is keeping me from the computer. I hope to be back to posting tomorrow.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bois 1920 Vetiver Ambrato and L'Artisan Vetiver

Bois 1920 Vetiver Ambrato contains two notes. Can you guess what they might be? If you guessed cotton candy and Peach Riunite, then I have a bottle of something Jessica Simpson made for you right over here. If you guessed vetiver and amber, then...well...very good. Good for you. If you were able to guess that much, and then you thought to yourself, "I wonder if it's a warm, clean scent, I wonder if it's sweet grass, sweet amber incense on cool summer air," well, then, I don't really need to tell you how this one smells. You already figured it out.

But let's talk for a minute about L'Artisan Vetiver, a wonderfully harsh creation that for some reason L'Artisan felt the need to discontinue. What is that with the vetiver? Pepper? Pimento? (I had pimentos in a salad I made for dinner tonight...I swear I smell them here, too.) It's slightly citrus, but I don't think it's lemon. Grapefruit? I cannot find the notes for this one. L'Artisan no longer acknowledges its existence, Basenotes has next to nothing (although one reviewer says oakmoss and patchouli--yes on the oakmoss, as there's a wonderful mustiness under the sharp top, but no to the patchouli? Maybe patchouli? It is a bit hippie-ish, in a wonderful way.), and neither does osMoz. Although these scents smell nothing alike, L'Artisan's Vetiver is in the same spirit to me as Etro Messe de Minuit, dirty and musty and sublime. Why do they stop making scents like these? Of course, I can't complain too much about L'Artisan, but still...why?!

*photo from Luckyscent

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Post Tomorrow!

Hi all! Work has had me beat the last few days, but look for a new post tomorrow. I'll be talking about Bois 1920 Vetiver Ambrato and L'Artisan Vetiver.

Have a lovely evening!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Family Affair: Guerlain Vetiver and Parfums de Nicolai Vetiver

It was almost exactly a year ago to the day that I featured a week of vetiver fragrances, so I thought it might be fun (and timely, given the season and the arrival of summer heat) to have a repeat, featuring different scents from the vetiver samples I ordered last year. My first vetiver that week was Guerlain, so I thought it appropriate to start there again. My, what a difference a year makes! I do believe I framed this fragrance as something one might use to cover up a trip to the gym. *Hangs head in shame.* What was I thinking? If anything, let this be a lesson to all perfume fans out there. First, if you don't like the perfume, consider the fact that it might just be you. Second, time and lots and lots of sampling will tell.

To recount, Guerlain Vetiver has the following notes:
Top: orange, bergamot, lemon
Heart: pepper and nutmeg
Base: vetiver, tobacco, tonka bean

The opening is citrusy and slightly floral, reminiscent of the sweet part of the rind rather than the actual juice. The nutmeg and pepper don't take long to appear, I think because the citrus is so grounded. The nutmeg adds a little more sweet spicy depth, but the keeps the sharper sense of citrus in the background. The end here is spicy, grassy and fresh without being overly bright. An interesting side note: wearing Guerlain Vetiver this time around, I really thought I smelled leather in the base. The Guerlain site does not list leather as a note, but osMoz does. Hm. Either way, to smell this is to understand why it's a classic.

And how daunting to have a family who has already created a classic and try to step out on your own! Patricia Nicolai is a Guerlain by blood, although her Vetiver is somewhat different than the classic scent created in 1959. With notes of vetiver, cumin, black pepper, clove, coriander, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and tonka bean, Parfums de Nicolai Vetiver launches itself with much juicier citrus top notes, which are amped up by the sweet spice of clove. This effervescent effect lasts only about thirty minutes, and then it begins to dry down into a dry spicy floral in the base, dominated mostly by the vetiver, tonka bean, and black pepper. This Vetiver reminds me of Etro Shaal Nur, dry and herbal, only less complicated, more sophisticated in its relative simplicity.

Both of these scents are a pleasure to wear. Both are considered men's fragrances, but women are crazy not to try them (and wear them), too. Ironically, the Parfums de Nicolai Vetiver comes across in the top notes as slightly more feminine, but ultimately between the two, I find the Guerlain more feminine. It has an aspect that reminds me of the base notes in Rochas Femme, one of my favorite perfumes. The PdN dries down into something that while sophisticated, definitely has the feel of a man's perfume.

*photos from and Parfums de Nicolai

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sage Coral and Peridot Perfume Oils

These two perfume oils, Coral and Peridot, wrap up my week of perfume oil sampling. I've enjoyed wearing these oils, but I must admit I'm anxious to get back to regular perfume. The thing about perfume oils is that they don't do much in the way of development on the skin, so there's no moving from the top and through the heart to the base. It's like getting an anecdote rather than the full story, but then sometimes the anecdote does the job. Sometimes I want to wear fragrance because I want the experience of something singular. In perfume, if you love the top notes in a scent, you only get about thirty minutes to an hour of what you love, and then it's gone. In perfume oils, the scent is the scent, mostly, and also, they tend to have great lasting power. In humid climates (like say, oh, Atlanta), that's a bonus.

But enough about perfume oils in general--let me tell you about Coral and Peridot. Coral has notes of orange blossom, mimosa, sandalwood, vanilla, and coconut. Surprisingly, this comes across less beachy or tropical than the notes may sound. Instead, this is a warm, sunny scent with a sweet freshness lent by the orange blossom and mimosa. Autumn at La Creme Beauty recommended this one to me, and she was right on the money. It's not overpowering, the sort of scent that becomes a person's aura as opposed to a person's smell.

Peridot is made up of notes of lime, cucumber, fig, freesia, and soft musk. Simply put, Peridot is more what I expected from Yosh's U4EAHH!, a slightly sweet but refreshing scent, a summer cocktail for the wrists. The freesia sort of grabs the fig and keeps it from floating away altogether, grounding the soft floral in the fresh greenness of the lime and cucumber. The one thing this scent lacks--and I think this might be true of most oils because of their nature--is the effervescence a perfume made up of these note should have. I would like for the top to sparkle a bit more, but of course, there is no "top." Still, I like it much better than the Yosh, and I find the price much less offensive.

All in all, I think my favorites from the week were Kai, Sage Perfume Oil, and Coral Perfume Oil. I own Coral, but I don't own the other two and am not sure if I would purchase them or not. I might consider the Kai, only if I don't find a gardenia perfume I like better. I must be honest: what attracted me to the Sage oils in the first place was the packaging! I'm a complete sucker for something cute that also smells nice. Hopefully those of you out there who need or want to avoid the alcohol in traditional perfumes, or those of you just looking for something to beat the heat or simply for something new found something here to spark your interest. Several places carry the Sage oils, including La Creme Beauty, Luckyscent, and Anthropologie. I believe all in all Sage offers thirteen different oils, so if none of the ones I sampled appeal to you, you might check out the others.

I'm off to pick out my vetiver samples for next week!

*photos from Luckyscent

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Yosh U4EAHH! and Sage Perfume Oil

I'm not sure why poor Moea didn't get any comments. Granted, the post was short and to the point, and I guess so was the perfume oil itself. Vanilla-based scents can be fun to wear, but they are rather, uh, vanilla.

When I used to think of perfume oils, I generally thought of them as hippie-ish, full of patchouli and frankincense and...well, a lot of the notes that makes up perfumes I love! To be sure, plenty of perfume oils like that exist--and some of them are remarkable, but it's just too hot to wear them right now. But by and large, when I first started sampling perfume and tried some oils, they were mostly a new breed for me, lush tropical florals that made me long to be on a beach somewhere with a book and a fruity cocktail.

Yosh U4EAHH! and Sage Perfume Oil (by a perfumer also called Sage) fall into neither of the above-mentioned categories. U4EAHH!, with notes of pomegranate, aloe vera, cucumber, pear, and water lily, is a tart burst of fruit, green and refreshing, but rather sweet. Although I like it well enough, I find it a bit pricey ($130 for 8ml) for a scent whose notes were better lent to a shower gel or body spray than a perfume oil. For people who like very clean scents, this one works well, and the one thing it definitely has over shower gel or body spray is lasting power. Most other perfume oils are moderately priced around $45, which makes sense given they're mostly straightforward. To me, they lack the art of development. If I were going to spend this much on an oil, I think Yosh's White Flowers would be the better choice.

Sage Perfume Oil, with notes of sage, sweet pea, African musk, tonka bean, and hints of cucumber, is more up my alley, both price- and scent-wise. It's also refreshing, and the cucumber notes lend the same watery quality that seem to cool the scent, but the soft herbal quality is what appeals to me the most with this one. Sage can be overpowering, but here it's light, almost powdery (I think that's the tonka bean at work), and any edgy incense quality is removed by the sweet pea and musk. This one is a desert breeze, cooling and soothing in the summer, adding a hint of soft warmth to the winter. I got this sample because I actually wanted to purchase it, and it was sold out! It's still on my list to buy. It comes in a EDT form as well, but I prefer the oil for its lasting power and how close it stays to the skin.

*photos from Luckyscent

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Moea Perfume Oil

Please pardon me, but tonight's post will be short and sweet, first because I am tired from a long day and have laundry to put away, and second because I don't have much to say about Moea Perfume Oil. No, no, nothing's the matter with this sweet little oil. In fact, quite the contrary. Moea, which contains notes of Tahaa vanilla, tiare flower, and coco monoi (essentially, coconut oil infused with tiare flowers), is a lovely tropical treat. It's not particularly original in terms of scent. The vanilla dominates most of the experience, although if you lean in close, you can smell a hint of the flowers. The lasting power on this is superb. Bob and I took a walk this afternoon in the muggy post-thunderstorm heat, and I could still smell Moea, although it had dried to a softer floral vanilla. I personally like the undertone of the coconut oil. It makes me think of the beach, as well as long for the days when it was safe (and possible) to lay by the pool all day. Moea is a little vacation on the wrist.

*photo from Luckyscent

Monday, June 04, 2007

Kai Perfume Oil

Today marks the first day of a week (or so) of posts on perfume oils. I've always worn EDP or EDT formulations (and parfum, on rarer occasions), but not so much perfume oils, or at least not until I got into sampling. My first trials were with the Majenty oils, Hidden Cove, Embrace the Day, and After Hours. After that I tried Yosh White Flowers (which frankly, I'd forgotten I'd tried--and really liked!), and then a kind reader sent me a sample of Child, because she wanted to know how it compared to Embrace the Day.

Right off the bat, let me tell you: The one thing all of these oils have in common is white florals. If you're a white floral hater--or, more specifically, if white florals run after you with large clubs until they mow you down and beat you senseless about the neck and head--then proceed with caution. The good thing about perfume oils is that they create little or no sillage, thereby foregoing the headache-inducing aura that might offend people around you. The other good thing (depending on how you look at it) with perfume oils is that they produce a scent that's very "true"--meaning, if real gardenias cause your noggin to throb, then any number of these perfume oils might do the same.

Kai perfume oil, although said to be made up of gardenia and "white exotic florals," comes across to my nose as pretty much straight gardenia, fresh blooms still on the bush, creamy white against dark green leaves, conveying both the warmth of the flower and the coolness of the plant in the shade. The lasting power is quite good, although I found it lasted best when I rubbed a bit into the crook of each arm. It's fresh, pretty, and straightforward.

In terms of comparing it to all the other oils I have listed here, Embrace the Day is the closest, gardenia mixed with jasmine and plumeria. It's mostly gardenia, but the jasmine dirties it up a little. The Kai seems more true, more fresh, and of these two, it's the one I prefer. Compared to the other celebrity-loved perfume in the bunch, Child: Child, which features jasmine as its star white flower, leans more toward perfume. I pick up a hint of citrus, and also something that lends it a slight sharp, powdery edge. Child has a slight scent of artifice about it, where Embrace the Day and Kai both feel a bit more natural. I originally preferred Child to Embrace the Day, but now I find I feel the opposite--and I prefer the Kai to them both!

*photo from Luckyscent