From masterpieces to vile air-fresheners -

                                                   everything is possible in the world of fragrances

"On doit respirer une femme avant meme de l'avoir vue. Quand la porte de son appartement s'ouvre, une bouffeé de son image me saute au nez. Si je ne la connais pas, je l'imagine, si je la connais, c'est un aimable avant-propos."

Marcel Rochas

Some Perfume Reviews: a mixed bag

1 Million Intense Pour Homme by Paco Rabanne

There is a vast legion of men (and women) who LOVE "1 Million" - and the Intense-version of it will certainly also appeal to many of them. I know at least two young guys who wear no other fragrance than "1 Million" to establish their self-confidence. The "Intense"-Million will certainly be an option for them, too. Yet the top notes of mandarin, saffron, pepper and cardamon are - in my humble opinion - not treated with due understanding with regard to their characteristics. They are the opposite of what I'd call "refined", but at least they are strong and outgoing. In the heart I can smell a neroli-spicy kind of cinnamon (too much of it) - and in the long-lasting base, there are extremely crass notes of artificial sandalwood and patchouli, all of which are fixed with a weird, soapy accord of cedar. Can't smell any "white leather" as mentioned in the pyramide, but this might be due to the different ideas I have in my mind about leather in general. I am not in the least drawn to this fragrance, on the contrary. "1 Million Intense" does carry the leader-of-the-pack theme through with a terribly assertive strong, stealthy fragrance, even when sprayed lightly, it seems to be overdosed. Uninhibited and up-front, this is a fragrance I'd put down on my list for "fragrance harassment".

1270 Frapin

A mixture of a decent male woody cologne with some fruity gourmand, rather "orange" overtones. 1270 doesn't meet my expectations. The drydown is synthetic and too sweet for me. I personally wouldn't want to wear it - and I wouldn't like to smell it on a man either. A disappointment.

1873 Histoire de Parfums

To me, the "worst" in line of a normally great range. This does not smell like Colette and 1873, but like the latest by Dolce&Gabanna (see their "La Luna" scent). A floral something with no refinement and no fun at all. Mainstream companies are just better at this kind of scent. If you're into such a fragrance, get a MODERN floral (see Gucci - will also save you a lot of cash.

360 by Perry Ellis

Not a greeny, but a sweety... very, very sweet, flowery...simulating the experience of passing through a garden full of spring flowers. Yet given the low price and the apparent use of synthetic material not as lovable as it appears on smelling it for the first time. The drydown is an awful chemical mess, sour and metallic. Won't buy again.

Absolument Absinthe Le Parfum D'Interdits by Liquoristerie de Provence

To be avoided. CK1 is much better - and cheaper. Dull and over-priced synthetic washing-up liquid-like scent.

Acqua di Sale Profumum Roma

This is a very expensive, over-priced scent! I tested it for a very long time, having been lucky enough to obtain several decants of it before writing this review. Quite an original perfume - pretty unusual in its approach to the subject of salt and the sea. There's no development in this fragrance, it is just "salty" and smells like your skin after a day at the swimming pool with a touch of a chlorine overtone. A new interpretation of an aquatic scent. Aria di Mare by Il Profumo is quite similar, but more playful. Tirrenico by Profumi del Forte points into the same direction. But both fragrances mentioned here for comparision are more interesting, more herbaceous, too, whereas Acqua di Sale is a perfume which is totally mono-linear and might bore you stiff after several applications. Some people pay the moon in order to smell...different. Nice after a long summer holiday when you are back at home and wish you were not. Tremendous staying-power included!

Agaressence Brecourt

Agaressence feels like a toned-down, impoverished sister of Aoud Rose Petals by Montale. Since I was looking for an alternative to the expensive Montale, I decided to buy a full bottle of Agaressence. Not a bad fragrance, this Agaressence, but nothing out of the ordinary... and very, very sweet, girlish top-notes. I recently read that OUD or AGAR can now finally be reproduced by some new aromachemical element, which took quite a while to develop, but which seems to be ubiquitious at the moment. Hence the explosion of Oud-scents on the market. None of these scents contains any genuine "essence" of the rare and very precious (i.e. ultra-expensive) oud bark. Brecourt's Agaressence certainly uses the inexpensive new aromachemical. Staying-power is average. A fairly pleasant scent.

Ambar by Jesus del Pozo

A lovely flacon housing a spicy-citrussy-green scent which is not what you'd expect given the name and the packaging. The misleading name and outfit contribute to the fact that "Ambar" has a hard act to follow previous J. del Pozo scents (like "In Black" or "Duende"). Ambar can't be catagorized as an oriental amber-scent. It is infused with very strong dashes of cardamon and ginger and then, there is a calm centre of green tea. After two hours you're left with a slightly woody drydown, not in the least sweet or cloying. This fragrance is not very tenacious and something of an enigma to me, coming from a house which normally produces very strong scents which last and last. It is a "dark green tea fragrance". Not bad.

Ambre Gris by Pierre Balmain

Very generic, boring "amber scent", making use of loads of synthetic aroma-chemicals. Neither unpleasant nor fascinating, it doesn't contain any new ideas or new combinations - it's a tune heard so often before, and performed in a better way by others ("Ambre Russe" for example).

Ambre Noir Brecourt

Ambre noire opens with a strong and harsh note of lavender combined with hesperides. Some glimpses of galbanum add to the generally fresh impression of this boisterous start. Since the fragrance is called Ambre noire, I expected some deeper notes in the well-known, even notorious "amber style" to take over, and indeed, after 15 min, I smell a woody-ambery heart blended with pine-wood and cedar plus a touch of incense. The drydown features those cedar-notes from the heart which linger on for a long time - all in all a fine scent - well done! Not as hackneyed as I expected when I read the name. Like it a lot!

Amor Amor Tentations Cacharel

Another variant on the pleasantly fruity structure of "Amor Amor". Smells good, got a lot of compliments when I wore it at parties. Not worse than many "el expensivo perfumes", a bit vulgar, but designed to have fun, because of its catchy notes.

Amouage Gold by Amouage

Amouage Gold smells like a vamped-up version of vintage Madame Rochas - and it was created by the same man - Guy Robert. I think it is over-priced, totally overrated and does not even come close to what a posh perfume named "GOLD" should smell like in my imagination. It's fine, elegant, but unimpressive. Probably the least interesting in the Amouage-line (apart from Ciel.)

Apres l'Ondée de Guerlain

One of my all-time favourites. My bottle of Apres l'Ondée is about 6 years old- and it is an Eau de toilette spray. (Parfum extrait is no longer available) To me, this scent is a porte-bonheur, evoking the music of Claude Debussy and impressionist paintings...(1906!). The aldehyde C.14 had not yet been invinted in 1906 (it came 2 years later), but in 1877 the German chemists Tiemann and Herzfeld had managed the synthesis of the "aldéhyde anisique" using a substance called anethol - and this is what was used to give Apres l'ondée its muted charme. I can't tell if the formula has changed over the years - and if so - how - but the fine balance of the notes, the magic of this composition always makes my heart sing! I am no chemist - let alone a perfumer - and I always feel that unless you don't know 100% what's in a perfume (and would they ever tell us???), there's always much speculation going on about the actual components which I am in no position of taking apart. What I can say is that Apres l'ondée is very well rounded - it does not fall into pieces, top-notes are not much different from the scent's heart - it is all a lovely, consistent cloud of sheer beauty. Apres l'ondée is a quiet scent, I feel comfortable wearing it... no fabulous sillage, no monster-longevity... I can reapply the EdT during the day without disturbing others...and enjoy the fragrance again. Apres l'Ondée is a perfume which speaks of tranquility, of quiet landscapes, of tenderness, too. It has a meditative touch, it's the epitomy of a finely balanced perfume where every note is 100% necessary, nothing superflous... nothing to be added or to be taken away. Harmony in a bottle. An absolute masterpiece. This perfume emerged when Debussy and Ravel composed their impressionist music and creates its own beautiful and romantic orbit. Its softness is a symbol of its cultivated origin, it has an enveloping wave of privacy and it is of such perfection that it brings tears to my eyes. It is a scent gloriuosly different from today's mainstream - and - to me- one of the best Guerlains ever.

Aod by Lostmarch

Aod Lostmarch Incredibly pleasant, catchy, comforting, pleasing - excellent! The spirit of summer, the sea, an idle day on the beach, a light breeze of wind and sand. Doesn't last very long, though, because it is ultra-subtle, but worth having and the pleasure is immense while it lasts. Great!

Anonimo Veneziano

A wonderful, rich, baroque kind of scent with warm, enveloping notes. Extremely well constructed, opulent, radiant. A celebration of womanhood. The first deep sniff you take of it will tell you about the outstanding quality of this perfume. Think "Coco" by Chanel, the sadly discontinued vintage "Venezia" by Laura Biagiotti or the deep, calm and beautiful "Sacrebleue" by Parfums de Nicolai and you'll get the idea...but "Anonimo Veneziano" is even better!

Aperçu by Houbigant

In the Persian language, you call a person who lacks in temperament "salt-less". Apercu is a gorgeous, original perfume. The first deep sniff you take of it will tell you what an outstanding creation this is. It is a chypre with a very radiant touch, not sharp or biting, but stylish and elegant. Highly recommended - grab it while you can.

Aqua Allegoria Bouquet Numero 2 Guerlain

Very sweet and extremely girlish scent. Lesser emphasis on rose petals than on lichi, which is a pity, because the composition ends up resembling the average floral-fruity scents we are all only too familiar with. Nothing special, I would have hoped for some more ideas. The kind of rose you smell in "Idyll" is used in Bouquet No Deux, too, but it is a muted, faint rose. Staying power is very good for an EdT - up to 6 hs on my skin.

Aqua Allegoria Nerolia Bianca by Guerlain

What does it take for a fragrance to be better than the rest? Originality! When surveying the vast sea of neroli fragrances there are several which rise above the surface ("Fleur d'Oranger" or "Safanad" to name just a very few). The new "Aqua Allegoria Nerolia Bianca" does not have that wonderful combination of quality and innovation - in spite of its famous pedigree. "Nerolia Bianca" contains the entire spectrum of neroli, i.e. the oil of the flowers of bitter orange trees plus the remaining orange-flower water. It's very predictable. The neroli is balanced by a bit of cedar combined with traces of white musk. In my opinion, "Nerolia Bianca" is a very simple matter, it does not in the least stray into unknown, let alone experimental territory. So if you seek out distinction, something more than a simplistic "Eau", you might choose to ignore "Nerolia Bianca". If you are looking for a clean scent with a single note reminiscent of white sheets drying on a line outside, "Nerolia Bianca" might be worth a try.

Aramis by Aramis

For quite a while now I have been hankering after the old, fantastic aroma of Cabochard by Gres (sadly reformulated)- then I discovered that the perfumer B.Chant is the author of both Aramis and Cabochard- and I can smell the similarities between the two perfumes. A rare herbal leather fragrance, a true masterpiece, not at all boring and very interesting on a woman (got a lot of compliments for wearing it today).

Aromatics Elixir by Clinique

This a classic case of a love-it-or-hate-it fragrance. It polarizes... certainly, because it is so strong and instantly recognizable. You could never mistake it for anything else. I know many women who claim this one to be their signature scent. And indeed, it is a bold choice. The elixir is a very complex composition by Bernhard Chant - author of Azzurée and Aramis. But please be careful with Aromatics Elixir. Too much of it will harm your environment and your own nose, which might become insensitive to more subtle scents.

Aromatics Elixir Perfumer's Reserve 2011 by Clinique

I have to warn you about two things here: This scent is difficult to find in Germany – and secondly, it is not worth hunting it down if you expect something very different from the original formula. You will enjoy the result of your hunt if you're a perfume vessel collector (lovely bottle indeed), but if it is the sheer fragrance you are after I can tell you that the original formula is better! This stuff doesn't break new ground, it comes with a slightly toned-down rose and a softer patchouli, a warm and enigmatic scent. Very good if you don't know the original, but not really necessary (unless you are a collector).

Aziyade by Parfum d'Empire

Aziyadé is a rather rich formulation with pomegranade and lemon in the top-note, giving way to very spicy chords of cardamon and caraway after a few seconds. The base consists of the oriental classics: amber, patchouli, vanilla. It's a scent which gives me the impression of a smooth, velvety piece of cloth. When the darker, earthier notes prevail in the end, they arrange themselves in a lush and seductive way. Nevertheless, I don't find this scent extraordinary. It is too similar to many other "niche-perfumes" in the "Amber-Oriental-fashion". If you're not into niche, think Fendi's defunct Theorema or a diluted version of Jungle Elephant by Kenzo. The creation has a weird touch of oriental flamboyance, but is lacking in originality.

Azuree by Estee Lauder

...has to be handled with care. If you spray on too much, the effect is devastating - people will shy away from you. But if you apply just a little bit, it's a gorgeous, very interesting fragrance. Smouldering, leathery, rather bitter, extremely original. One bottle will last for ages. So it is a real bargain - and a perfume which is outstanding without being a niche-product from a niche-firm. It is a wonderful example of the talents and quality of Estee Lauder.

Azzaro Couture by Azzaro

The original Azzaro was the very first item I included into my collection when I was a teenager - so I was extremely curious to smell the re-edition. It is a wonderful scent. While the stuff from 1974 was much more complex, fascinating and more feminine, the present version is a flowery creation, quite harmonious and well-balanced. It does not have the intense femininity of the old version, yet it could be called sparkling and pleasant. Don't expect it to be too sensuous, it is a cheerful fruity chypre with a modern touch. Highly recommended!

Baghari by Robert Piguet

Baghari in its reformulated form starts with a blend of lively citrus and aldehydes. The heart offers a bouquet of rose, jasmine, orange blossom and iris. Sounds familiar? It is. "Baghari" seems to be Chanel No. 5' s sister, the two of them smell very, very similar. Since Chanel No. 5 never talked to me and is a perfume which leaves me cold, i.e. a fragrance I'd never wear and I never took to, "Baghari" doesn't impress me either. It's a bit more "rounded" than Chanel with a drydown which emphasizes vanilla and musk. Wearing it, you end up smelling very "powdery" - and quite pleasant. I guess it's a wonderful alternative to Chanel No.5 and probably it's refined, elegant, subtle and very, very decent... - but I am not bothered.

Bahiana by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier

A dispappointing creation. The topnote is quite enchanting with orange and mandarin, the main chord is green with mosses and crushed forest leaves. The composition is inconsistent and underneath the pleasant topnotes and the main chords I detect some coconut which does not fit and spoils the whole thing... at least for me. The scent is very light, has no presence and the formulation is trying hard to be original, but fails in the very end. To call it floral is not quite correct, since the overall impression is misty, shadowy and ... - a pale green. Not to be recommended (given its high price and the poor staying powers).

Baiser Volé by Cartier

An artfully balanced harmony of lily, topped with a sparkling green aureole of leaves. Don't underestimate it, because it is a "soliflor". It is clean and clear. Wear it on a summer day, but put it away at night, it will not perform any "seduction miracles" for you. It has an open-air freshness and crispness which I find old-fashioned in a good way. You do not always have to wear powerhouse fragrances in order to feel like a powerhouse woman. This elegant and refined scent can also do the trick for you.

Bakir by Long Lost perfumes

A weird, outstandingly "brutal" scent. I find it utterly unpleasant. There's some pungent, awful note in it which bites my nose. Could imagine this on a man, but would not want to smell it on a woman, because it is coarse and the drydown reminds me of cod-liver oil. Vile!

Bakir by Long Lost perfumes

A weird, outstandingly "brutal" scent. I find it utterly unpleasant. There's some pungent, awful note in it which bites my nose. Could imagine this on a man, but would not want to smell it on a woman, because it is coarse and the drydown reminds me of cod-liver oil. Vile!

Balenciaga Paris by Balenciaga

Well, the company is now owned or "run" by Coty - and the new Balenciaga does not live up to any of my expectations at all, given their great past and tradition of wonderful perfumes. This is a very weak, nondescript "jus", a boring, common floral done in the modern, transparent, "fade-away-in10min"-style. Nothing to write home about, let alone to waste many words about in a review.

Balmain de Balmain

I just got hold of a bottle of Balmain de Balmain extrait (parfum)- and I must confess that this great chypre in the classic mould really enchants me. Although the basis of Balmain de Balmain is a blend of woods and animal notes, the most striking presence to my nose is galbanum mixed with oakmoss for soft greenneess. There's also a hint of a leathery note in this scent giving it some kind of opulence. Balmain de Balmain seems to be totally underrated in spite of its highly distinctive character. It is very Parisian to me, very sophisticated and tres chic. I find it marvellous to spray on when you feel you need a bit of "élan" and energy. I also find it very sensuous, playing on the scale of middle and bottom tonalities like a beautiful ancient violoncello. Balmain de Balmain is a great perfume to wear a Balmain original with plenty of elegance and taste.

Bandit by Robert Piguet

This is clearly a fragrance for daring women- very bitter, nearly masculine, strong - the clear opposite of sweet and "fruité..." Cabochard by Grés strikes a familar chord and might be considered a more moderate version of it. You can wear Bandit when you are in a bold, self-confident mood - a lot of younger women don't like it at all, because it is too "dark" for them! I call it a perfume for the intrepid! One of the most outstanding fragrances ever and one of Cellier's masterpieces. If you can manage to obtain a vintage version of it, keep this jewel in a cold, clean place and enjoy its emotional depth and extravagance. Bandit has a disturbing beauty and once you smell it you'll find out that it is truly sensational. The re-edition is blended with much artistry and is also worth trying.

Baroque by Fragonard (discontinued)

This perfume is rather outspoken, it is constructed over a voluptous bed of flowers (none of them can be isolated) and finished off with a very interesting ginger note as a fixative. It is very pleasant and ageless, seasonless. I find it beautiful and original and hope that your acquaintance with its charms will be as uplifting as my own experience with "Baroque". Baroque comes pretty close to my personal image of a perfume for women in all seasons. French chic at its best!

Bas de Soie Serge Lutens

A very conventional, yet pleasant scent. When the first greyish iris-blast is over, the heart is quite smooth and not very "interesting" in terms of "innovative", let alone creative. In so far, the name "Silk stocking" is appropriate. I'm reminded of Chanel No. 19, but the legendary No. 19 is much harsher. Sillage of Bas de Soie is mediocre, you have to reapply after 3 hs. My husband gave me a bottle of this for Christmas and having worn this now for a couple of times, it turns out to be a wonderful "all-rounder", very good for day-time and work.

Belle de Nuit by Fragonard

Reminded me of "J'Adore" by Dior when I bought it some years ago... (I daresay it is a very good copy of it).

Benghal by Lancôme

Nice. A mixture of fruity notes (apricot, melon) and spices (ginger, a hint of cinnamon). On my skin, it is surprisingly long-lasting and perfect for daywear in summer. Neither outstanding nor brilliant, it is refreshing and much better than many of the Escada-Fruit-Salad scents sold everywhere. Since it as been discontinued, stock up on it if you are into this kind of fragrances.

Black Amber by Agonist

Top notes: strong association of medicated treacle, Italian kitchen herbs and camphor. "Amber" (when it's not "Ambregris", i.e. the real animalic thing we're talking about) is a construction trying to evoke an "oriental feeling", and its main components are labdanum and vanilla. Theses classic ingredients cannot be found in "Black Amber" - at least not at first sniff. The initial sharp blast fades rather quickly and makes room for the heart, which is marked by incense and vetiver, but also by patchouli, the over-all effect adding up to an impression of moth-balls. Nevertheless, the fragrance improves a bit with time and the drydown is dark, herbaceous and spicy (cardamon?). A touch of vanilla lures in the background. This is the typical smell you find in Indian grocery shops, a mixture of curries, Basmati rice, incense-sticks, perfumed teas and washing-powder. "Black Amber" by Agonist is nothing I'd like to wear on my skin, but it's kind of astonishing to watch its development from cough syrup to Indian grocery store. Even more so when you consider the price of this "experience": 880 Euros per bottle. A visit to your local Indian grocery store will cost you nothing.

Bois de Turquie by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

This is a very pleasant scent. There's a smooth ebb and flow in it, reminiscent of the waves on a beach... in - say- Antalya. I find it sophisticated, much lighter than Ambre Précieux , for example, and utterly pleasing to the senses. The name does not suit the does not conjure up images of woods in Turkey, since it is not very "woody". As I was told in the shop in Paris recently, Bois de Turquie doesn't sell well. What a pity! It is such a wonderful, well-balanced scent.

Boisé vanille by Montale

Sharp, biting opening, a medicine-like smell, slightly reminiscent of some juniper-tar based oitment prescribed against rheumatism. I can neither detect any vanilla-warmth or pleasant woody ingredients in this one, which - like many scents I don't fancy - lasts for hours. A total bummer for me. This is a fragrance which would put me off if someone wore it in my presence. But I'm lucky, I've never smelled it on anybody before, just sampled it today. Sniffing my way around samples is always a gorgeous experience - and I conclude that Montale is a house behind which I have to put a very big question mark. One more perfume from their range which I cannot stand. Good to know.

Born in paradise by Escada

Green apples, guava, watermelon, pineapple, coconut milk = paradise? As simple as that? I'd say it takes a bit more "ideas" or "creative input" to mix a memorable fragrance worthy of a name with the word "paradise" in it. After all, an average chemical lab could be such a rich and generous source of inspiration that even the people behind "Born in Paradise" could have come up with something less boring. But I don't want to go into the details of this uninventive but flourishing company, although there is something fascinating in the "gaiety" of the fragrance's packaging. Time to get accustomed to the repetitiveness of the repetition.

Bottega Veneta pour homme

If you like the "Bottega" fragrances for women, you'll be halfway hooked because "Bottega Veneta pour Homme" is similar in structure. It's a related formula of intense citrus head-notes except the "pour homme"- version goes into a more herbacious, woody direction by adding fir resin and pine. In the drydown I can smell the same leathery note as in the scent aimed at women (which I prefer). The female "Bottega" includes some kind of "oakmoss" which makes it more interesting for me, particularly in view of the fact that it is a recent perfume coming from Coty. Well, there is no oakmoss in this decent, beautiful masculine version, which seems to lack projection and longevity. Coming from "Bottega Veneta" you would expect something elegant and sophisticated, and that's what you get. In spite of the accent on wood and leather, this one is a "smoothie". The person who uses this fragrances probably plays it cool, my impression was that I never felt obvious wearing it. Might work well as a kind of fragrant security blanket.

Breath of God

Now sold in Lush-stores, I finally tested this on my skin . The initial blast of dark, awful notes is simply unnerving - and hard to bear. After 30 min, the scent develops into a comfortable, transparent woody veil, not in the least as vile as the beginning, but not good enough to make me want this scent for my collection. I like my perfumes to be pleasurable from the very beginning onwards - and would never buy a perfume with such unfriendly top-notes. Honestly, I am disappointed!

Brume d'Hiver by Volnay

Perfumer Amélie Bourgois belongs to "FLAIR", a perfume creation studio in Paris. As an independent perfumer, she had the oppurtunity to create several new perfumes which are supposed to be "evocative of the past" and participate in the resurrection of the House of Volnay (which dates back to the year 1919). "Brume d'hiver" is no light fragrance mist (as its name might indicate), but a fully-fledged Eau de Parfum. It boasts a prominent cast of rose, jasmine, elemi resin, incense, musk, vanilla, clove and - oud. It is this very ingredient which steals the show, dominating all the other protagonists with its deep, dark notes. I can't help being reminded of countless other oud-based creations of the last five years (Montale!), but fortunately, "Brume d'hiver" is more wearable than your usual "Black Aoud", since it is less provocative and a touch quieter, more understated than most oud-fragrances. The "oud-issue" certainly engendered much opinion in the past already, both in favour and against. I'm definetely fed up with oud, hence I can't find any words of praise for this new example of "French orientalism" with alleged roots in the last century.

Burberry Body

is a boring, lactonic fruity floral. It's very linear and devoid of any surprises. Burberry Body is the incarnation of blandness, a faceless new fragrance from the lab. If this is the future of mainstream fragrances, I'd rather hide away and take a sniff from my collection of vintages. This scent is even worse than all the other equally poor fragrances I've tried from this house.

Cabotine by Gres

One of the worst perfumes I ever had. If you want to kill insects ... this one is perfect.

Cachet by Prince Matchabelli

This one is an old US classic, dating back to the 70's. You may not have heard of it before, but it is always available in drugstores etc.- not expensive, but suprisingly good! It has an instantly sparkling appeal with a high-piched top note. Under this lies the Cachet-core-note, a very cool, herbal, mossy heart which is persistent for a very long time. Cachet is not monotonous and stands out as a very crisp, strong fragrance.

Calandre by Paco Rabanne

I never liked Calandre, although everybody claims it is a sister of "Rive Gauche" (and I like Rive Gauche). It's one of the great classics I'll never be able to appreciate. And - I can't even give reasons for this. Just find it utterly unpleasant.

Caleche by Hermes

The current version of Caleche is a very diluted, cheap formula. A perfume which would make a passable masculine, but definetely not a good feminine. I see a middle aged woman, wearing only beige, a person who doesn't want to stand out, never speaks up and whose lips are pursed. That woman will not flirt with you, she is so descent, so beige.

Calyx by Prescriptives

Calyx is the precursure to all the fruit-salad fragrances on the market, a pioneer fruit-salad in a bottle, so to speak. I fell in love with it back in 1986, because at the time Calyx was such a nice alternative to the Cinnabar-KL-Red Door-League. Smelling it again today, I have to confess that I still find it better than the usual Escada-Tutti- Frutti-Medly of the year, but I'd never buy it again, given its artificial and out-dated chemical fruit-mix. Well, we all know you can "out-grow" a fragrance, can't you?

Carnation by L'Erbolario

Uncomplicated, a single flower scent, if you love the smell of carnations, this can be recommended. It has a wonderful serenity and gentle intensity. Carnations are said to heel people who suffer from a "broken heart"-they have a soothing, comforting effect on the psyche. I find that this version of a carnaton fragrance has a very captivating smell which helps you to calm down and reload your batteries.

Ce soir ou jamais by Goutal

A delightful fragrance, featuring the very substantial oil of the Turkish rose with "honeyed" overtones. Very flowery and slightly reminiscent of "Joy", but not as grand. If you love this type of fragrance, "Ce soir ou jamais" might be an alternative to "Joy", although I would see the Goutal fragrance as a perfume for day-wear, too.

Chypre mousse by Oriza L. Legrand

"Chypre Mousse" from 2013: finally, a new, big chypre-league perfume - a must-try for all chypre-addicts. This novel chypre is out there pushing the boundaries of the genre with so much self-assurance that there is no going-back once you've tried it. I don't want and can't go into "technical details", is it real oak-moss we're smelling here or is it just tree-moss? How does "Chypre Mousse" compare to other perfumes of the group? Try and find out for yourselves, since appropriate words fail me. This fragrance is a deep, "green" chypre, yet "green" is too vague an adjective to describe the full impact of "Chypre Mousse". The perfume sets its trap with piquant and earthy notes, goes on with the mandatory aromatic moss laced with galbanum, adds ferns of all kind, pine needles and vetyver and thus builds a new, neverthelss nostalgic chypre-perfume. "Chypre Mousse" is as earthy as a soft, wet and dark forest soil, it's one of those rare perfumes which can catapult you into a "natural environment". Somewhat raw, uncompromising and indefinable, the glorious mélange of oakmoss, galbanum and balsamic notes with that fascinating edge of earthiness that might or might not spring from the notes of "humus, mushroom and roasted chestnut" (mentioned by the perfumer) has captured my heart. Thumbs up for this perfect "forest fragrance", hauntingly serious and anything but mainstream.

Chypre Nobile 1942

I expected much more... - given the name and the other lovely scents in the line (try Anonimo Veniziano, for example). Chypre Nobile starts off like a cheap drugstore scent in the style of Jovan MUSC - and it smells like one of these musky fragrances for a while. Bewilderment on my side - so much money for such a trite, banal fragrance? After 10 min, the scent changes and wraps you into a cloud of tonka-bean and vanilla. Not a chypre, neither "noble" nor classical in its composition. Very disappointing. This is a vanilla-based ambery oriental, not a chypre!

Chypre Palatin by MDCI Paris

I was so keen on trying this perfume that I spent 12 Euros on a German website for a decant of this stuff, hailed as the "ultimate new chypre" by many perfume-lovers. Alas, I can't share any of the enthusiasm. "Chypre Palatin" has strong topnotes which produce a totally unpleasant effect: they are vomit-inducing. Hyacinth and sage, galbanum and lavender plus clementine don't seem to merge, the result is a weird cacophonic accord. To my great relief, the fragrance improves with time (after one hour, it reminded me of "Eau de Rochas" ), but it's not in the least outstanding. The flowers (iris, gardenia, rose) add some warmth, but the drydown is marked by a strong dominance of benzoin and castoreum, which convey an animalic touch to the composition. You could also call it skanky or dirty. Oakmoss is there, too (yes, it's a chypre), but the entire composition feels like the attempt to revive an old genre by adding up as many ingredients from the perfumer's palette as possible. The French word "empilement" used by Elléna occurs to me in this context: Duchaufour piled one ingredient on the other but didn't achieve any harmony, let alone beauty. "Chypre Palatin" is a difficult retro-fragrance. It seems to embody the gloomy and harsh parts of the "chypre genre", completely ignoring the elegant and sophisticated qualities some landmark chypres possess (think Mitsouko, Givenchy III or Jubilation 25). This new chypre lacks proportion and in spite of the excellent quality of the ingredients used, it's a proof of the fact that snobbery in perfumery is pointless. A 50 ml refill bottle of "Chypre Palatin" will cost you about 210 Euros. I'd rather spend my money on a bottle of "Bottega Veneta", to choose a contemporary mainstream example, not a vintage or a classic. A huge ripoff in my book, this new EdP by MDCI Paris (2012).

Cinéma by Yves Saint Laurent

The top-notes are beautiful, I like the lemon-vanilla-combo. But soon, a very sweet mimosa kicks in, then fades away and makes room for a huge, powdery, almondy vanilla-cake note. I can't wear this fragrance, and I don't understand its name. "Cinéma" - a perfume evoking one of the greatest artforms of the 20th century should be grand, impressive and comprise more than vanilla and mimosa. What we get here is a simplistic foody vanilla-scent, sweet and boring like a trashy soap-opera. I see no need to recommend this one.

Clean Baby Girl Clean

Why bother about that one? Babies smell lovely without perfume anyway... and they all smell different (like every- body, we all have our own personal smell). So why spray on a totally synthetic nondescript chemical liquid - smelling of almost nothing? Who is this intended for? And who buys such things?

Club Men by Azzaro

Azzaro is a brand that I always keep track of, since the world owes some of the best fragrances ever to this company. Here comes their latest product called "Azzaro Club Men" which starts with a strong and reviving green-lemony note (citrus and papaya). Then there's something the marketing people call a middle note of "cannabis". Well, don't be scared, there is no real cannabis in this fragrance and the aromachemical chosen here is slightly woody and a touch smokey, but not related to the real thing. Probably a strategy to win younger folks and attract their attention to this new chemical scent. The woody base notes are "hinoki" combined with a hint of musk - "meh". All in all a mediocre woody-aromatic fragrance which smells very synthetic. And don't believe the "hemp-bit". There's no such thing in this fragrance. The marketing people should go out and smell for themselves. Out there in the real world, there is some natural grass which smells totally different from this test-tube-creation of theirs.

Comme des Garcons Series 2 Red: Carnation Comme des Garcons

A carnation soliflore. I'll be very brief: This is a green carnation ... the heart is made of cloves - so you might experience a whiff of a "medicinal" smell here (cloves are still used as a herbal remedy by dentists in order to fight tooth-ache). The aroma is too harsh for me! The staying-power is great, but the scent is NOT my favourite carnation soliflore. Fragonard's Billet Doux is cheaper and much softer.

Concerto Fragonard

Ck One (Calvin Klein) done by Fragonard - nothing wrong with it at all, but not very original.

Corteccia by L'Erbolario

First impression: bug spray, but fortunately this settles down into a woody cologne, which really captures the smell of a dry forest. "Dry" is the key-word here, the scent is too harsh and dry for my taste and I would not recommend this stuff for dates with a "younger audience". If you wear this, you smell dignified and gentleman-like. L'Erbolario suggests this scent to be worn by both women and men, but I wouldn't spray it on, because it's far too linear and too masculine for me. Longevity is good (4 hs). Men who are into woody colognes which smell natural and outdoorsy will probably like "Corteccia", but there are far better scents out there in this particular genre. On the other hand, "Corteccia" is very inexpensive and after all not totally unpleasant, though of no particular interest.

Costume National Pop Collection

An unexpected treasure. It's been created from flowers and exotic fruits with a main accord of freesia and lily mixed with peach and kiwi. I'm normally not a fan of fruity-florals, but this scent settles very nicely on my skin, neither too opulent nor too shy. I love it for its unconventionality. Beautiful flacon!

Covet by Sarah Jessica Parker

"Covet" seems to be on the verge of discontinuation, I recently grabbed a bottle of it at a very low price (twice reduced!) and rejoiced because I had always wanted the pretty vessel for my collection. And the flacon is the only asset this fragrance has to offer to me. After a promising start of chocolate mixed with lavender and lemon (quite extraordinary) "Covet" turns into a chemical nightmare on my skin. It morphs into a harsh, synthetic woody mess, headache-inducing. But the bottle looks cute.

Cuir de Lancome

Reminds me of J'ai osé by Guy Laroche without the oomph! I used to LOVE such scents, but I find them dated and overpowering today. This is a fine leather fragrance, no doubt about that, longevity is excellent, too, but this perfume does nothing for me. When I wear it, I feel so much older than I am ... older, but not wiser or more relaxed. The perfume has a frumpy touch ... It was a blind buy I honestly

Daim Blond by Serge Lutens

Daim Blond is a wonderful fragrance, it does not overpower you with bitter vibes of leather, but discretely wraps you into a veil of peachy osmanthus mixed with suede. One of the most wearable creations in the whole Lutens range.

Dans la Nuit Worth

The current (2011) version is a bad copy of Samsara and falls flat after 10 min. Never tried the vintage. This one (the new juice) cannot be recommended!

Diorella by Christian Dior

Wonderful, crisp, modern, fresh. Forget about all the other eaux fraiches on the market...- Diorella is the perfect summer scent, timeless and beautiful.

Dita von Teese Eau de Parfum

Dita's first fragrance came as a pleasant surprise. At least this scent is not a fruity-floral for a change, but a fragrance which is supposed to smell "glamorous". Well, in order to come across as glamorous as the usual adversiting blurp suggests, this Eau de Parfum would benefit from ingredients of higher quality. The ideas behind it (Bulgarian rose, spices, patchouli etc.) aren't bad at all, but the excecution is coarse. On the other hand, Dita von Teese's fragrance is comparable to many offerings by mainstream companies which charge more money for their products (e.g. Gucci or Burberry).

Dolce Riso Cale Fragranze d'Autore

The fragrance opens with a burst of red apples - but I can also detect some sweet cherry-blossoms...very Japanse, so to speak - and very sweet and verrrry tender. When you think, "Wow, what a lovely start - how is this gonna go on?" you are soon breathing in the aroma of steamed thai-rice (NOT basmati-rice!) and after a couple of minutes, you are already led to the base which is not as soft as you might have expected. On the contrary, the base is harsh and I seem to detect some unpleasant screechy note in it. Thus this scent has a wonderful start, but a disappointing ending - and after 30 min you wonder where it's all gone... - you are left with nearly nothing at all - just a faint whisper of some woody base commonly used in male fragrances. I like my rice-dishes much spicier and more substantial. This "Dolce riso" is not even suitable as a dessert ... it's a cute little appetizer which leaves you with an empty stomach.

Eau de Genny Genny

Smells like Aria di Mare by "Il Profumo" - but is much cheaper. Very good alternative. Fantastic staying-power, original scent. Ideal for sunny days. Summer in a bottle!

Eaudemoiselle by Givenchy

An easy crowd-pleaser. Does have a slight retro-touch, not in the least unpleasant or offensive, not edgy...- a nice fragrance for uncomplicated women which gives you a break from many of the very cloying and claustrophobic scents released in the past (think Boss, Lancome etc.). Nicely crafted, but totally unobtrusive in comparison to Ysatis or Organza Décadence. In perfumes, one of my mottos is "No risk- no fun". That's why the new Givenchy seems a trifle boring to me. It is too well-behaved and too conventional for my taste.

Eau d'Eté by Parfums de Nicolai

It's a well-balanced, pleasant fragrance. Very "unfussy", simplistic, but nice. Staying power is below average.

Eau de Pamplemousse Rose Hermes

I liked the sparkling, exhilarating, uplifting effect of the new Hermes Grapefruit Cologne very much - but the pleasure is fleeting indeed. 3 minutes on my skin. What a pity, since the grapefruit note is very good, totally natural and something I have been looking for for years.

Eau fraiche by Elisabeth Arden

This one was released in the 70's: I wore it at school when I was 13 ... - weird! It's a fresh Eau with a strong, very rustic lilly-of-the valley note. Very striking - and long-lasting for a so-called Eau fraiche. Memorable and original – but a trifle screechy.

Eau Sauvage Extreme Dior, 2011 version

Beware! Reformulation destoyed this scent. Unrecognizable. I don't know why Dior's reformulations are that bad, but they truly are.

Eau Sensuelle by Rochas

The original structure of the great Eau de Rochas is whispering from the behind, but before the familiar chords reveal themselves to you, you are exposed to a disturbingly strange and interesting combination of ripe fig and a Juicy Fruit chewing-gum top note, morphing into a milky, muted violet. Once those top-notes are gone, the Eau is quite enjoyable, making it an acceptable flanker of the original, which - needless to say - is much better.

Eau Turquoise by Patricia de Nicolai

The fruity top-notes evaporate in no time, giving way to a very spicy, aloof kind of Eau fraiche. I think it incorporates a mix of high-pitched and very low, dark notes, forming an interesting contrast. There is a fast progression from the top-notes to woody, darker shades, thus avoiding the monotony many modern fragrances have come up with recently. That alone makes it superior to many common Eaux on the market and is well worth discovering. It is an unfussy, fearless Eau Fraiche, it has a masculine touch on the skin.

Early Roses Teo Cabanel

Fresh and light, a rose scent in the classical mould. No surprises here. Good raw materials, staying power is fine. You can't make any mistake with this one. Would make a nice present for those who love rose-soliflors and who like to "play it safe".

Egoluxe by Otto Kern

This doesn't boost anybody's ego and it's not luxurious either. "Egoluxe" is a drugstore fragrance you will forget the moment the thin formula of alcohol plus some faible aromachemicals will reach your olfactory cells. The mixture of artificial herbs on a base of synthetic musk and sandalwood is abolutely nothing to write home about. Very poor staying-power - but in the case of "Egoluxe" you will not mind.

Elle by YSL

Such a boring, nondescript fragrance. Too average to even write about it. For those who rather rely on a big name than on their nose.

En Avril, Un Soir by Yves Rocher

Review of the VINTAGE-version The structure of this EdT is original: it contains loads of aldehydes which give the fragrance lightness and clarity, and the heart consists of white flowers (rose, jasmine, freesia). So far, so good. The originality is to be found in the basenotes, a complex construction of several musky shades skillfully arrranged. I think this fragrance was influential in the late 70's - but unfortunately, the recent reedition bears no resemblance to the original. The reedition smells nondescript in comparison and seems to be made on the basis of a cheap formula, it is no proper reconstruction at all.

Enjoy by Patou

What an utterly beautiful and pretty perfume. Indeed, "Joy" rejuvenated. Adorable! Spring and summer in a bottle. Fantastic swirly, flowery top-note, I actually once ran after a woman in a shop who wore it and asked her about the name of her scent. And this is an exceptional thing for me to do. "Enjoy" is an exceptional fragrance.

Erotique by Dita von Teese

Just when you thought Dita von Teese was done for 2013 (she released "Fleurteese in spring 2013), she dived into the the thick of things with her latest scent in the golden bottle. Called "Erotique", this new drugstore fragrance is an intense blow to the senses. The spicy opening with pepper and coriander stops short of being overpowering. But then a surprisingly dark, earthy note slightly reminiscent of artificial aoud (not mentioned anywhere in the pressmaterial or the pyramide) infiltrates. Not satisfied with being in the background - just like Dita - this earthy note advances and arranges itself around a bouquet of various woods, musk and a sensual veil of leather. In the end, the perfume becomes very woody and smouldering, like a smoke trail in a forest. This is a prowling, mysterious fragrance... don't wear it to the office. Although I wouldn't call it an ultra-seducer, you might be in for a bitchy comment. This is the best of the three "Dita von Teese fragrances" so far. It does not cater to the taste of the floral-fruity lovers and with its spicy-woody individualism, it will not represent everyone's idea of a pleasant perfume. But if you like woody fragrances, you might find "Erotique" a welcome and affordable addition to your collection.

Especially Escada Elixir by Escada

Do women want to smell like a bed of roses? Escada seems to hold the opinion that some of us dote on single flower scents. Nothing wrong about that, I for my part love a good rose-scent, at least once in a while. "Especially Escada Elixir" is no magical or particularly outstanding example of a flowery bouquet, nevertheless it smells very nice and rather lush. "Elixir" reminds me of rose-jam, but of course the scent of rose-jam has been intensified in the laboratory for heightened effect. Some fruity aspects (plum, grapefruit in the top note) add to the rich and romantic inspiration of this scent. The base is a mélange of vanilla, white musk and other contemporary favourites (amber, cashmere). "Especially Escada Elixir" marks a return to strong, rose-laced perfumes (see other new releases of 2013 i.e. "Innamorata Lovely Rose", "La fille de Berlin", "Vaara"), here we are back to the opulent floral perfumes of the 1930's - done in an entirely artificial 2013-fashion. "Especially Escada Elixir" is a beautiful blend of modern aromachemicals, suitable for everyone who loves sweet nostalgia without the hussel of having to search the internet for a vintage-perfume.

Esprit Woman (2013)

This is a bright, citrusy fruity-floral with a wonderful modern lightness in the topnotes and a soft musky drydown. One of the best fragrances in the Esprit range, which I can recommend (in terms of "best of German drugstore"). Everything is in place here, nevertheless the best parts are in the fresh topnotes. The rest is a bit dull, but perfectly nice. Just like the "fashion" sold in the Esprit stores.

Essenza di Roma by Laura Biagiotti

I normally believe in the slogan "if you have it, flaunt it". The good old "Roma" from 1988 had ample to flaunt, it was a fully-rounded perfume, with a sparkling prelude of Italian bergamot, grapefruit, mandarine and an unmistakable signature. The latest follow-up product is no "essence" of the old "Roma" at all, but a faint shadow. The gorgeous mandarine top-note smells startlingly lifelike, but there is nothing much to follow. On a background of vanilla and artificial sandalwood, I can perceive some almondy notes, but the entire scent is incredibly fleeting and not as energetic as the old "Roma". It's no tribute to the great city of Rome, which may have changed in the last 25 years, but still remains a symbol of fabulous architecture, beauty and classicism. "Essenza di Roma" is a reticent perfume, and a rather pianissimo one at that. It does not in the least manage to epitomise the breathtaking beauty of Rome, neither is it an improvement on the old formula. Yes, the first whiff of this scent is a pleasure, but the core, the backbone, the heart - where is it?

Estée by Estee Lauder

Very interesting fragrance, has a sharp and biting aroma. I used to wear it a lot when I taught at University. It sharpens your mind and your tongue. And it is inimitable. Very important quality a perfume should have. Drawback: It was reformulated - get a vintage bottle! The new version is no good!

Etra Etro by Etro

This is the best of all the ETRO- fragrances. Indeed, there is a resemblance to the sadly discontinued "Le Feu D'Issey", but the fragrance is not that intense. It is very pleasant, equal to any occasion and at the same time exclusive, because it is not available everywhere and no common high-street fragrance.

Evergreen by Jil Sander

"What does this smell like? Worth testing?" Shop-assistant: "No!" "Why?" "It smells the way it looks." "You mean...boring?" "No, it's just a simple, fresh-from-the-shower kind of scent for ... err.. young people." "Can I try in spite of the fact that I'm not part of the target-group?" "If you so wish ..." Spritzzzzz.... "Now, don't look so disappointed. The era of the bitter, characteristic Jil Sander perfumes will never return. We've got loads of other "new" scents on our shelves here which basically all smell the same, unobtrusive clean frags for the younger generation." "The new omnipresent evergreen, you'd say?" She nodded. And sighed. Then she handed me a sample of Chanel No. 5. I'll come back to this shop.

Fate Man by Amouage

If you don't like the smell of cumin and immortelle, "Amouage Fate MAN" will probably turn out a "difficult fragrance" for your nose - as it is for mine. Cumin, ginger and hints of saffron make this perfume extremely spicy, and the "sweaty" aspects of cumin can be felt up to the dry-down. "El Attarine" by Lutens springs to my mind, although the Lutens fragrance is even stronger on the cumin than "Fate". The heart of "Fate" features immortelle coupled with licorice, and merged with sandalwood and musk. The spiciness is still there, although subdued. All the chords are blended seamlessly, the fragrance becomes more rounded and the pungent, sharp notes vanish. "Fate" is a high-quality blend, but unfortunately, it features several components I don't like, no matter how well they are integrated into a scent. Amouage's latest fragrance is neither particularly exciting nor daring, it is a cumin-immortelle couple with a deep, spicy (and rather foody!) feel to it. Contrary to other Amouage fragrances "Fate" is neither dark nor mysterious and it is far from being experimental. Btw, the bottle is gorgeous, if only the fragrance was more interesting for me...

Fath de Fath by Jacques Fath

This is an outstanding perfume, one of the very best orientals! It is a massive fugue singing to you in several voices artfully intertwined. All the notes listed in the description above are handled in an subtle way, none of these heady scents is allowed to out-shout the others. A harmonic unity of voices is achieved in the end - with a glorious effect. Fath de Fath is very strong and has wonderful staying powers - so be careful with it. It positively blossoms at night - so don't wear it to the office. It has an unfathomable mysteriousness - a disturbing beauty. My pick for the grand night out (since the early 80's!).

Feminité du Bois by Serge Lutens

Sheldrake worked on the original Luten's formula and created a wondeful fragrance, once available everywhere in Europe where Shiseido was sold. Now Serge Lutens has claimed it back and integrated it into his normal series. The scent has undergone reformulation - too sad! A cheaper version of the smell could be found in Dolce Vita by Dior (before it was reformulated, too). Nevertheless, an excellent perfume, I rate it among the best of the woody-oriental family.

Fidji by Guy Laroche

Fidji is one of the best classic perfumes from the 60's - it happened to be my first perfume, my mum bought me a bottle of it when I was 13.... I still love Fidji, because it is a fragrance you can wear anytime and everywhere - it will never disgust anybody, offend anybody or provoke any unpleasant reactions - it is fresh and uplifting - a pleasure to be worn anytime Sadly enough, the "extrait" is very hard to find nowadays, Eau de Parfum has become rare, too - and what we are left with is an Eau de Toilette which has very poor staying power.

Field Notes from Paris by Ineke

Definetely unisex - and very reminiscent of Gaultier 2 - simply a better version of it, since it smells much softer and less artificial. I don't feel transported to a Parisian Café by this scent at all, because the smell of café au lait is very much in the background. Patchouli and vanilla can be felt from the beginning to the end, though. The scent is well-balanced and not as heavy as you might expect given the patchouli predominance.

First by van Cleef&Arpels

This was created by one of the greatest perfumers of our times, Jean-Claude Elléna, and seems to be inspired by "Chamade". The freshness and vivacity of hyacinth and narcissus are warmed with sandalwood and vetiver in this first perfume of the jewellery company. "First" has a strong, greenish freshness and comes in a very original bottle. It is vibrant and unlike many other creations from the Seventies, it is well-behaved and ladylike. A perfect scent for elegant women!

Flora by Gucci

Boring, uninventive, average, flowery easy crowd-pleaser. I wished the people at Gucci/Firmenich in Germany (responsible for this creation) could come up with a more innovative scent using this fantastic this version of "Flora" there is not a single surprising note to tempt the virtuous and no serpent-like edgy part to seduce the innocent... - just the same hackneyed version of the bunch of artificial flowers. If you are over 30...- go for "Joy" or "Enjoy" by Patou instead.

Forbidden Affair by Anna Sui

Not what you'd expect – no forbidden affair at all. Faceless fruit-salad combo. Nothing in the least remarkable about this pleasant fruity-floral, and I bet that in a blind test you wouldn't be able to tell it apart from the other competitors on the market all done in the same "youthful" style.

Fragonard de Fragonard

I'd say the top-notes are copied from Guy Laroche's immortal Fidji, but the scent is not as refined as the original at all. The perfume (pure parfum) has a tremenduous staying-power, but the drydown is utterly unpleasant, sharp and even chemical. Very coarse in comparison to Fidji. A disappointment.

Frapin 1697 by Frapin

has a lot in common with "Havanna Vanille" - many ingredients and the perfumer, Duchaufour. Although there is nothing wrong with "Frapin 1697", with its sweet and heady outpouring of vanilla, rum and raisins, it's not very original and reminds me of the above mentioned vanilla-scent Duchaufour did for L'Artisan Parfumeur - with added rum and dried fruits. The boozy topnotes evaporate quickly and the heart underlines the theme of "golden warmth" and amber. Under all the murmurs of vanilla, a bit of clove and other scatterings of spice, this perfume remains quite subtle on my skin. It has a soft sensuality and it reflects Duchaufour's fascination with light and transparent, yet sensual and warm scents. Frapin 1697 is soft and sensuous, to me it seems to be all about languor and laziness. Not a crowd pleaser or a party fragrance. Very much an autumn and winter scent.

Fuel For Life pour Femme by Diesel

Angel mixed with "Calyx" resulting in a very wearable, pleasant scent which smells modern and sexy at the same time. Neither very inventive nor outstanding, it is nevertheless one of the best mass-market releases of 2007.

George, Gina & Lucy

Fruity-floral. Fruity-Floral. Fruity-Floral. Am I being repetitive - or is it the perfume-designer? George&Gina&Lucy and my granny - all of them in fruity-florals... beam me up, Scottie!!!

Georges Sand by Les Parfums Historique

Gorgeous, warm, spicy. High quality. Smells like Scherrer 2 done with even more quality ingredients and feels deeply rooted in the fine history of la grande parfumerie francaise. If you are looking for an alternative to Scherrer 2 (or even to Coco by Chanel) - this one could be an ideal option.

Ghost Luminous

Creativity requires passion - but there is no passion or sparkle to be found in this average fruity-floral. It smells so nondescript and boring that I can't take the muddled fruity notes apart. One of the least attractive scents in the Ghost line-up.

Giorgio by Giorgio Beverly Hills

Very strong indeed. But why not? I think you must be in the right mood for this one... daring, inconsiderate of other people's feelings... very self-centered. Good choice when you talk to your lawyer about your next divorce.

Goddess - Hommage à Greta Garbo by GRES

A disappointment. A fairly conventional fruity-floral scent with a synthetic "chypre-wanna-be" -base. Nothing I would associate with Greta Garbo, since this perfume lacks everything Greta had: she was unique and utterly beautiful, whereas this fragrance is the kind of "meh"-scent which is even too average too become worked up about. A bit of cardamone and plum (sounds good to me) in the top- note, yes, but where does it all lead to? To a very faint imitation of "Alien" (because of the strong jasmine-heart) and to boredom on my side. Obviously, GRES completely stopped launching interesting perfumes. The "Marlene-Dietrich-Series" was a disaster already, and "Greta Garbo" isn't any better. GRES has nothing more to offer than average scents trying to exploit the name the company had in the perfume-world when the house was famous for "Cabochard". GRES try very hard to hark back in history to the splendid and capricious movie-stars of the 1930's and 1940's, but their fragrances don't deliver.

Gold Roberto Verino

This perfume doesn't remind me of "GOLD" at all, since it smells faint-hearted and the first whiff will not carry you away, but will make you wonder what this scent consists of. In fact, it is very hard to take the notes apart, since it does not come on strong, but in a light whisper. A "wallflower" scent, I'd call it. Nothing much to write home about. One of the weirdest scents I ever tried - because of its boring smell. You can't pinn this one down - it's nondescript.

Gucci by Gucci

Hideous. Quite a flop in the shops, I was told. Yet there is a new lighter version of it, Eau de Toilette, I have not yet tried it, given the fact that I really dislike the original. There is some new aromachemical contained in it which makes me sick.

Habanita L'Esprit by Molinard

Habanita L'Esprit" was launched in 2013, ten years after Narciso Rodriguez' best-selling fragrance from 2003. Why do I mention this? Well, "Habanita L'Esprit" smells very similar to "Narciso R. Eau de Parfum". Those who know the Rogdriguez will now have an olfactory picture in their mind, those who don't will be glad to learn that "Habanita L'Esprit" has nothing to do with the old "Habanita". It's neither a "light" version of it nor can it be compared to the classic perfume by Molinard in terms of originality and impact. Yet "Habanita L'Esprit" is extremely loud, staying power is excellent and the strong musk places it in the category of those sexual heavies some people think they need to spray on to seduce the world around them. Loaded with the earthiness of patchouli, "L'Esprit" blends amber, rose and jasmine and then adds an animal note of synthetic musk to make things even "hotter". The resulting postion is musk, musk and musk - and very disappointing, because it is so close to thing the perfumers Nagel and Kurdijan did in 2003. Worn with due discretion, this "Habanita L'Esprit" could be fine, provided you like strong musky scents.

Happy Spirit Elixir d'Amour by Chopard

Chopard really got it right this time with "Happy Spirit Elixir d'Amour". Although there was nothing wrong with the first version of "Happy Spirit" with its extremely sweet and fruity heart, I never took to the fragrance. "Happy Spirit Elixir d'Amour" is version from 2011 which i quite like because of its sun-warmed flowers (freesia and jasmine) on a bed of "cashmere wood" (probably a kind of cashmeran) and white musk. The flowers are not understated and never seem to lose their strength, after three hours, they still resonate from my skin in a brilliantly fresh way. Another asset for me: the fragrance is not fruity and it's not sweet either. I'd call it a "multi-floral" backed-up by woody notes - great for casual occasions. The name is rather silly, though... can't see why this scent was labelled "Elixir d'Amour" since it is not tremendously sensual or enticing. This said, it's still a pretty perfume.

Haram Brecourt

A spicy-gourmand scent, opens with a burst of orange and cinnamon, then reveals a warm heart of white chocolate adorned with the rich smell of marzipan. A fragrance which is slightly reminiscent of the good parts of Guerlain's Iris Ganache with its lovely, gourmand opening chords, but Haram remains rather pale on my skin. It features marzipan and white chocolate ... and even after one hour, that's the overall impression you're left with. Pleasant, with a comfy gourmand feel, but devoid of originality.

Heat by Beyoncé

Cheap and tasteless. Some fruity top-notes vanishing after 2 min and giving way to some ultra-cheap low-quality vanilla-base with very muddled, grey undertones. No young girl should start her exploration of fragrances HERE. It's a shame that the industry produces such incredibly primitive scents and seems to find costumers for this stuff.

Highness Rose by Montale

This one simply knocks you off your feet: rose oils - in their purest and most concentrated form. And this is where my objections starts: You might as well buy pure rosa damascena, turkish rose and rosa centifolia oils and mix them yourself - ready is your "Highness Rose Fragrance" (at a much lower price). Where is the artistry in that? The perfume feels like a fantastic aroma-therapeutic rose oil session, but it is devoid of any creativity and offers no fresh ideas on "roses". I'd rather stick to the good old Perfumer's Workshop Tea Rose ... - since Tea Rose comes much closer to the scent of real roses on a stem in your garden. "Highness Rose" smells of rose OILS - a very different smell from the actual flower outside.

Hiroshima mon Amour Nez a Nez

Could anybody tell me in how far the scent connects to the famous film "Hiroshima mon amour" - is it as intriguing and disturbing? When you choose such a name, the scent should be genuinely outstanding! It's a very bold name (for those who know the film). Update: Had a chance of trying it. Very sweet - containing some weird, milky, disturbing note I cannot pin down. After the recent Fokushima disaster..."Hiroshima - mon amour" is a scent which bears a name I would not want to see/read on my shelf at all - too many really bad associations. And the scent is no winner in my book either.

H.O.T. Always by Bond No. 9

Very good opening...I thought - wow - this could be something for me - but after the initial three minutes you are left with a nondescript, average leathery drydown...- save your money and get some cheap "Patchouli" instead. This fragrance is neither "hot" nor there for you "always". It's not unpleasant at all - but I'd expect better quality and more ingenuity given the high price.

Iceberg Parfum by Iceberg

Iceberg was released in 1989 and it's still around, which is a good thing. Green and grapefruity notes provide it with a very fresh and uplifting start. A mood-booster. The gorgeous top-notes are the best part of the fragrance, which isn't as icy as its name might suggest. "Iceberg's" heart is slightly peachy and a bit flowery, but not in the least loud. The overall impression it creates is one of quiet elegance. "Iceberg" has a soft chypre-base which is unobtrusive, but pretty. Available at a very low price, this classic fragrance is a tasteful choice and                                                                      seems totally underrated.

Icy Fantasy by Fiorucci

"Icy Fantasy" is a fragrance created by Sophie Labbé, a very talented and qualified perfumer who gave us fragrances like "Jasmin Noir" (Bvlgari), "Promesse" and "Liberté" (Cacharel) or "Bellissima" (Blumarine). Sophie Labbé often works for Fiorucci which belongs to the "Perfume Holding", a company created in 2010 when Morris Profumi and Selective Beauty merged into one. Their product portfolio includes the newly established brand Atkinsons (which is not as purely British as the advertising campaign suggests) plus many Italian names, among them Ferrari, Benetton, La Perla, Sergio Tacchini, Iceberg, Ducati and Fiorucci, of course. Fiorucci always tries to come across extremely playful and "Icy Fantasy" is a brilliant example of this. It's a celebration of powerful fruity aromachemicals in one bottle and overloaded with sweet but lovable flavours (strawberry, apple, rasberry, peach). "Icy Fantasy" is not suitable for women over 20, which is why my daughter keeps it locked away from me. I'd call it a very strong fruity-floral, and strictly "younger than springtime" territory. This said, it's one of those rare fruity-florals which are unexpectedly nice, which is probably due to the work of an experienced perfumer like Sophie Labbé.

Idylle de Guerlain Eau de Parfum

To begin with, I have to confess that I am a die-heart Guerlain fan... and - I am a bit disappointed with this creation. The entire scent is centred around a rose-theme, done much better before in Nahema in 1979. This time, of course, it is a light, yet sweet modern rose, quietly resting on a bed of other fragrant flowers and creating a light whisper of a scent... - a pleasant little tune, something which won't bore you stiff but which won't move you either. I would compare this creation to the weaker compositions of Haydn, which are sugary sweet but lacking depth and are inferior to Mozart because of their shallowness. Obviously, Guerlain decided to market their more daring creations in their special boutiques under the "LES EXCLUSIF"- label only. This mass-market fragrance is sure to turn into a great success, because its polished, flowery surface won't offend anybody. 80 Euros for a bottle of 50ml Eau de Parfum is not a bargain-price, anyway - and rather expensive for a creation I personally would not rate 5 stars. I certainly will not purchase this one, but would not object to wearing it from time to time (if someone gave it to me as a present), thus saving up my money for a bottle of vintage Mitsouko.

Indisch Leder by Wiener Blut

I've tried a few woody and leathery perfumes in the past, but I spent most of my perfumed life in exclusively flowery-chypre situations. But I always wondered if there might have been more to my tendency to experiment with spicy, leathery scents than pure curiosity, which was why I was excited when I was introduced to "Indisch Leder" at a friend's boudoir. I knew "Indisch Leder" was a saffron-sandalwood-leather affair and I spent the afternoon at my friend's place actively flirting with "Indisch Leder". I was very pleased when "IL" and I exchanged telephone numbers at the end of the afternoon. We began texting and I decided to invite "IL" over to my boudoir on a Saturday night. Well, I was surprised at how much my heart was beating when I opened the door to let "IL" in. I'm used to flowery chypres taking the lead. With "IL", I did not know where I was and who was in charge. I was relieved when "Il" said "You seem confused". "I haven't done this very often", I mumbled. "I can tell", "IL" said. Then I analysed every sniff I took, I was enjoying it, but it was also weird at times. Encounters with most of my other perfume mates follow a certain script and I know when the main event is up - i.e. the heart-note. Here I wasn't sure. "You think too hard", I was told by "IL". Yes, I found myself obsessively trying to take apart the different notes. But I didn't succeed. "IL" was good. It was fun. But I felt on the same level as the time I had spent trying to learn how to dance tango. I really wanted this to be "my thing", but at the end I could tell that it wasn't.

In Love by Daniela Katzenberger

This "creation" must be the result of an identity crisis. While Daniela Katzenberger's first fragrances were just ordinary fruity-florals, this one is a fragrance for people who want to be noticed at any price. I smell strong artificial orange blossom and jasmine. The heady musk and cedarwood concoction coupled with berries is a generic syrup pointing into the direction of the sticky and off-putting scents offered by other "celebrities" whose names start with a "K". Why did I have to buy it then? Well, my daughters and I love cats. And the younger one, whose name happens to begin with a "K", too, wanted the bottle because of the "K" for "Katze" and the "K" for her own name. Will my young Miss "K" use up the contents? I doubt it. Thumps-up for the marketing-department. They seem to know we collect perfume vessels.

In Red Armand Basi

"In Red" - a misleading name. This one is not a warm, but an icy-cold fragrance, complemented by ginger and a whiff of citrusy petigrain. Certainly a vivacious scent, at the same time radiating a cool tranquillity. "In Red" with its bracing display of sharp citrus oils and pungent ginger has a breezing outdoors vivacity and it's a good bet for those who don't want to be associated with a classical "floral-feminine" fragrance, but want to smell as if they'd adopted this wonderfully refreshing "who cares attitude" to life. Not my cup of tea at all, but nevertheless a "thumps-up" scent.

Insolence by Guerlain

Insolence really smells like an olfactory impertinence to me... so its name matches its effect. It does not have much in common with the classical Guerlain fragrances I love, but it is a very strong, poisonous mixture of oriental and flowery notes which give me such a headache I have to wash off the "olfactory impertinence" immediately... Mind you - it does not come off quickly - you really have to soak in a bath-tub for 1 h to get rid of it. This one is meant to last and to last last.... - totally unwearable and very loud!

Iperborea by Villoresi

Villoresi's 2010 contribution is a complex green floral starting with extremely soapy, greenish top-notes which give way to a dominant and rather screechy magnolia-jasmine accord. The first impression, especially the top-notes, did not appeal to me at all, the heart seemed very harsh and uninviting and in the end I recognized the familiar musky notes Villoresi used in his top-seller Teint de Neige (a scent which I love, btw). Iperborea seems like an attempt at recreating classics like Balmain's Ivoire or Scherrer I, but it is less remarkable and is not harmonious ... the name reminds me of the prefix hyper - Hyper- IPER. Everything seems a bit over the top and the scent does not possess the effortless elegance of the great iconic green florals, nor does it please the senses with a well-balanced cocktail of flowers. Staying-power is excellent, but the overall impression is not.

Iris Noir Eau fraiche Yves Rocher

Spraying on this new Eau fraiche feels like a childlike pleasure - I can see lime-green and violet, a beautifully woven organza scarf, a garden with a pond. On a warm summer day, you can wear this fragrance with ease, lift your veil, let your hair float about you like a cloud and run with your bare feet through the freshly cut grass. Essential oils of pink berries, bergamot, mandarin and ambrette seed abolute form the head and the heart of the scent, in the dry-down you can smell patchouli and tonka bean. Very nice summer fragrance indeed, I'd call this a quality Eau fraiche available at a very reasonable price and can only recommend it.

Ispahan by Yves Rocher (reformulated in 2009)

It was a fragrance I perceived as a slimmed-down version of Opium in the old days, for me - it used to be a rather cheap variant of the famous YSL smell in the past. Smelling it again today I have to confess that it is very rich and woody...aficionados have treated it as a treasure long after its disappearance from the market and are happy to have it back. It can be characterized as a floriental scent with the accent on spices and herbs, not so much on the flowers. It seems a trifle fresher than the usual floriental stuff, but the rumblings of sensuality can be detected just below the surface of its structure. It is a rich and charming perfume, and I feel quite at home in it even wearing my jeans and old leather jacket.

Ivoire de Balmain Pierre Balmain

Ivoire is a "problematic" scent for me. It's elegant, green, highly recognizable and a true masterpiece - and yet - I cannot warm up to it. Two years ago, I swapped a bottle. Then regretted the "loss", bought another bottle and swapped it again only 4 weeks ago. I always enjoy Ivoire and its powerful green notes on someone else, but I can't wear it myself. The scent turns soapy, harsh and uninviting on my skin. Nevertheless, a great classic and a must-try!

J'ai Osé by J'ai Osé

J'ai osé is incredibly good, but rather heavy and - daring. No good for women under 20... Unfortunately, it is no longer produced by Guy Laroche himself, but appears to be made somewhere in Europe under license... One of my favourite perfumes, cool 70's stuff, but fantastic - and wonderful for those who like edgy, smokey, "stubborn" scents.

It´s an outstanding creation - it is sensual and extremely smokey. It is also audaciously assertive and obviously inimitable - nothing can be compared to it. Still popular on the Eastern Europe market today, it has nearly fallen into oblivion in Germany, France or Italy, where it is a hard-to-find scent. Should you be able to lay hands on it somewhere - try it! You may well find it irresistible!

Jailia Profumi di Pantelleria

A brilliant alternative to people who want "Angel" with a bit more of a refined attitude. Top-notes are fruity and indredibly me, it's like a can of over-ripe, yellow peaches and mangoes in heavy syrup. I don't know which of the fragrances came first, Angel or Jailia, but the latter seems to be made of superior ingredients and doesn't have any of the harsh, chemical notes to it which I don't like in Angel. Nevertheless, I don't find this fragrance very innovative and the genre itself is not my cup of tea either.

Jardin de Bali Isabel Derroisne

The dominant note is coconut - (can't understand why it is not listed, but I don't trust them lists anyway...- most companies don't tell us what they REALLY use -) combined with loads of tropical fruits and flowers. This is a tropical scent with a difference, it smells much better than the usual artificial fruit-salad-combo, but I have to confess that it's not my cup of tea, since I'm not a fan of coconut in perfumes. Sillage is astonishingly good!

Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie by Creed

Awful. If you love Jasmin... you might like this one. But to me, it's stifling and a waste of money (buy a cheap synthetic jasmine oil instead).

Jeux de Peau Serge Lutens

Is it a new genre? The "woody yummy"??? The opening is wonderful - loads of cedarwood and incense , but the heart is too much of a "gourmandise" fragrance for me ... burnt almonds and buttered cookies . I don't get any licorice from this scent - neither do I smell apricot or osmanthus. On my skin, the fragrance drys down to a sweet almond dessert - probably much better worn in fall/winter than in the warmer seasons, provided you like this "foody" style in fragrances. It certainly conveys a cosy atmosphere, but I must confess that I prefer other scents by SL to this one which does not live up to its name. Jeux de peau? The plural jeux suggests a multi-layered, more complicated fragrance, but I perceive it as monotonous. "Woody yummy by Serge Lutens" is not quite my cup of tea.

JHL by Aramis - reviewing the latest re-edition (2010)

Take Cinnabar, sake, shake shake, had a few drops of Youth Dew, shake again... and what you get is this fragrance - marketed for men. I'd like to meet a guy who can pull this one off... - personally, I wouldn't mind owning a bottle of this myself, because it is a bit spicier and darker than Cinnabar...- very attractive and cheaper than the female scent.

Jicky by Guerlain

Aimé Guerlain, the creator of Jicky, was among the first perfumers to use synthetic products - and yet his famous composition does not smell synthetic at all ... - (my sample is new, it's pure perfume strength). The top-notes greeted me with a blast of bergamotte and rosmarin, not a bad combination for my nose at all, but after a very short time, I can smell a mixture of cumarin and vanillin (disvovered in 1876 and considered a breakthrough in modern perfumery!) matched with jasmine and rose. The two components from the 1889's perfumer's lab are very animalic in this composition - it is called a "semi-oriental" in Guerlain's publications and it is supposed to be aromatic and sensual at the same time. Not on me, I'm afraid. After about 45 minutes I seem to smell civet and tonka-bean - and traces of jasmine. Civet and tonka-bean... and maybe even a bit of oppoponax... but it all adds up to a very heavy, unpleasant aura. My daughters HATE the smell on my wrist and my husband thinks this "must be something very old - maybe a scent which deteriorated?" I simply don't enjoy this fragrance. It feels dark and numb, in spite of the fresh top-notes and the rosmarin. What I am left with here now on my skin is something I don't feel comfortable with. I must confess that I'm not as "disgusted" with Jicky as I used to be in the past, trying to revisit and revaluate it today - but I still think it is an absolute "no-go" for me. Given the fact that Jicky dates back to the 19th century, given its important role in the history of perfumes etc. etc. - I dislike it.

Jil Sander Scent 79 Man

The current version was launched in 2012 - but unfortunately I'm not able to compare it to the original from 1979 or to the second version from 2007. I'll have to stick to my perception of the scent as it presents itself today. Could "Scent 79" be called a modern classic? It's part of the new "Jil Sander The Essentials" range and advertised as modern, classic and - essential, of course. Well, the concept of modernity in perfumery is a subject that has been pursuing me for quite a while. Which exciting new discoveries turned male fragrances traditionally based on citrus and sage, lavender and wood into something I'd call "modern"? When "male" ingredients marry "feminine" components like rose, ylang ylang and iris, when they share the sensuality of - say - patchouli, aoud and leather, exciting new combination may arise. But in the case of "Scent 79" there is no such combination. "Virility" in "Scent 79" is expressed by very conventional notes. This fragrance lacks courage and lively contrasts. It mixes spices, wood and a touch of leather. Everything is calibrated and calculated, but there is nothing in this scent which sharpens or stimulates my senses. Does "Scent 79" bring to mind the figures of men of the late 1970's? Not at all. Francis Scott Fitzgerald wrote: "A life without passion is no life at all". I guess that a fragrance without passion is probably worse than no fragrance at all.

Jil Sander Woman Pure (new) by Jil Sander

Clear, pure and devoid of any heart or substance. Can be sprayed on to freshen up on a very hot day and is gone in 10 minutes. A fragrance for those who actually don't want any parfum at all. Should be called Eau de Cologne, not EdP - and why on earth did they label it "Intense?" Nothing intense about it. Stylish bottle, though.

Jimmy Choo Jimmy Choo

The patchouli note is just as boring, artificial and chemical as in many other "fruichoulis" which have been released in the past two or three wouldn't be able to decide if you were smelling "Oriens" or "Sensuous" or Jimmy C. or that matter in a blind test, I suppose. If that's the future of the "fruity chypre" I declare this genre dead. Beautiful perfume vessel, though. Obviously, the big companies think today's clients have better eyes than NOSES. I felt the instant urge to plunge my nose into the next "niche-shop" in town and smell a sample of Villoresi or Montale after my first contact with "Jimmy". What a bummer!

Jolie Madame by Pierre Balmain

A great all-time classic I read that Jolie Madame has undergone a massive change, but I don't feel that this alteration is so immense; I can still recognize the fragrance, and it still is extremely beautiful. One of my personal favourites.


Lovely bottle, a playful and witty opening: It would be unfair of me not to recognize the good taste displayed by HERMES with this new scent in their line-up. JOUR comes along just in time to cater for the discerning perfume lover's penchant for reduced, but sparkling creations. The first whiff is brilliant, light, fresh - and you realize it couldn't be anything else but an HERMES - fragrance. Its formulation, in true J.C.Elléna-style, is modern, yet not in the least adventurous, i.e. innovative. It uses the same notes we encounter in "Un jardin sur le toit" and the same spices as in "Un jardin apres la mousson". There's a tangy green note as a counterpoint to the opening rush of apples and pears, grass leaves and fresh rose petals. The effect is exhilarating and a bit teasing, playful and witty - but I think Elléna harks back to his own history as a perfumer here. In his recent book I read that he feels sorry about the fact that "Un jardin apres la mousson" was a total commercial flop. "Jour" won't flop, it's less heavy on the spices, well-behaved, doesn't scream, it exudes a light-hearted nonchalence that centres the attention on you, not on the scent. It's an eclectic mix of other Elléna-scents and feels like a repetition. No surprises hidden anywhere, it simply has the clout of the Hermes name and its inherent sense of good taste, but it lacks something I'd call an "original formula". "Jour" has a curious calming effect on me, it feels like meeting a good old friend. But then again, don't the English say that familiarity breeds contempt?

Joy by Jean Patou

Is obviously not every woman's joy, but I personally find that it is one of the greatest florals ever...and I do object to people maintaining it betrayed an artificial smell of jasmin. The perfume itself is made from very fine ingredients and is a refined mixture of rose, jasmine and many other flowers - hard to describe- but simply beautiful.

Jubilation for Men by Amouage

A grown-up, very masculine, very incense-based scent which sends out pretty definete vibes. The man who wears this stuff has impeccable taste and probably made this scent his signature. Warm, spicy, with this haunting mix of amber and incense, this fragrance was made to impress. This is what I'd call a Class Act!

Jubilee Bouquet by Penhaligon's

A new release of a classic scent launched for the first time in 1977. It's a greenish, herbal concoction with hardly any flowers and a wry it's not a floral chypre in my books. This fragrance does not talk to me at all. I can't say that it is unpleasant, but it bears no element of surprise, no fascinating chord. It comes across like a well-established, decent toilet water for people who want to obey the code of conduct. Absolutely devoid of any erotic hues, this seems to be respectability in a bottle.

Juliette has a Gun Vengeance Extreme

This is totally disappointing and not what the name suggests. Instead of an amped-up or darker version of Lady Vengeance, you get the same fragrance as before, simply done in a coarse, harsh manner. It's a very basic mix of patchouli and rose, crude in excecution and no improvement on the original at all. Get Aromatics Elixir if you are into this kind of stuff or try the regular JhaG. Staying power is worse than I expected.

Kaspule Woody by Karl Lagerfeld

The great German eccentric Karl believes in fragrance combining, therefore the three "Kapsule scents" could be used together or on their own, but I think "WOODY" is the best of the trio. Lagerfeld himself said that he never sprays perfume on his skin, but loves to layer it on fabric. He does not believe in gender barriers when it comes to perfumes and happily announced that he is a heavy user of "Shalimar"...- his Kapsule-collection is a UNISEX fragrance programme. "Woody" is a very simple scent, a clearly structured, uncomplicated sandalwood-affaire, great on both sexes.

Kimono Rose by Bois

is a lovely and very well constructed rose soliflore. Nothing new here, it does not open up any unknown territories at all, but is pleasant and well-behaved. Think "Les Parfums de Rosine" or the Annik Goutal rose-soliflore (a deep, warm and rich rose).

Kiss me tender by Parfums de Nicolai

There is something rather exotic and bubblegum-like about this fragrance, something which doesn't work. It's a fragrance out of the ordinary with its mix of liquorice, hay and coconut giving it a lush sweetness which is not tamed by any other components in the drydown. The scent is very tenacious and outgoing, but it doesn't impress me. Kiss me tender is quite original, it seems to me it's a like or loathe perfume. Not wearable for me.

KL by Lagerfeld

The current bottle I purchased in 2009 seems to have undergone reformulation. Top-notes are still there, the interesting mandarine burst giving way to the spicier parts of the fragrance - but a lot seems to be missing from the 80's original. Smelling this fragrance today and wearing it, too, feels uncomfortable and having finished the bottle some minutes ago, I see no need to replace it. Nevertheless, KL still smells much better than many of the recent trendy releases marketed as "sexy" or "seductive" (take the latest "Guilty" by Gucci as an example".)

Kontakts von Djintars

Discontinued. Oriental, spicy, very much in the style of "Opium" by YSL. An old marvel from Latvia.

L by Lolita Lempicka

Disgusting, cheap vanilla - vanilla - all over... very basic and awful to me. Lovely bottle, though.

Lady Vengeance by Juliette has a Gun

This perfume is not as provocative as it may sound, since the theme is not new. A flowery oriental with a very interesting woody patchouli drydown, in a way reminiscent of the discontinued "L'Arte di Gucci." The top and middle notes are centered around a very huge, aromatic rose, before the oriental guns are brought in for the drydown: patchouli and vanilla. A strong scent - not only for hot-blooded Juliettes.

L'Air by Nina Ricci

L'Air's opening is a floral and even a bit fruity, but the base is rather woody, somewhere I read it is palisander you could perceive here (well, probably palisander built by a clever chemist in a lab). The heart and base are powdery, sweet and weird ! My compliment to the perfumer: I really smell something entirely new in L'Air: an old trunk stench, deteriorated powder – not my idea of fresh air or air at all. Maybe it's nostalgic AIR they want to incarnate? There's a truly nostalgic aspect to this perfume, but some oddly off-putting element lurkes behind the corner and turns this fragrance into something I can't either decipher nor wear.

L'Air de Rien by Miller Harris

Interestingly enough, I don't perceive this as a "dirty" or "skanky" scent... - but to me it is just what the name implies - RIEN. Nothing - more or less. It is VERY disappointing, given the commercial blurp on the sample telling me it is an "exquisite oriental with rich notes of French oakmoss, Tunesian neroli, sweet musk, amber and vanilla". I get a faint whisper of neroli on a blurred bed of musk coupled with a menthol-like, harsh top-note. Does sex really smell like this? Well, not in my experience. This is neither outstanding, nor shameless, but this has l'air de rien when I hoped it had l'air de tout.

Lale Dominante Blanche by YS UZAC

As the name indicates, this one is a white floral. "Dominante Blanche"? Yes, the "white" aspects are dominant, on my skin it's all about white tea and a strange lemondrop-note, which I don't enjoy. Leather and saffron are hard to detect, they are mentioned in the pyramide, but I can't single them out like in other fragrances where I have no trouble in pinpointing them... All in all, this scent is a huge disappointment to me. Inspired by very enthousiastic reviews on other sites, I ordered a sample, because I normally adore fragrances containing leather, apricot and saffron (e.g. "Daim Blond" by Serge Lutens). But this weird lady in white called "LALE" doesn't impress me at all. She's closer to Elléna's tea-perfumes than to anything else. If it's tea you're after, "Lale" could be an interesting lemony option, albeit an expensive one (around 150 Euros). If you're looking for more depth and volume, pass!

L'Ambre des Merveilles by HERMES

"L'Ambre des Merveilles" is a great scent, a flanker which only faintly resembles the original EdM (which has an orange topnote and a salty dry-down). "L'Ambre des Merveilles" is also far more transparent than its grown-up sister, "Elixir des Merveilles", which is a chypre with a drydown I never liked, since it seems muddled and too chocolate-like to me. Elléna has written a lot about clear notes, his reductionist approach to creating perfumes and his will to compose fragrances which are not complicated: "Je m'oppose aux formules compliquées ou les répétitions, les empilements donne une lecture brouillonne, inintelligible, bien que séduisant". ("Journal d'un parfumeur", page 118). He continues by saying: "I love simplicity". Smelling "L'AdM", I must say that Elléna wonderfully managed to achieve the simplicity he is after by giving his new scent a transparent, yet profound enough structure to please the senses of any demanding perfume-lover. This scent is not cramped with loads of common or even novel ingredients. Nevertheless it comes across fresh, new and spicy in the topnotes. "L'AdM" develops into a warm and envelopping skin-scent after about one hour, keeping the spicy parts and not focussing on the patchouli mentioned in the official pyramide too much. You can clearly feel Elléna's predeliction for peppery- spicy notes as in "Voyages d'Hermes" in this new composition, too. The whole thing manages to retain a pleasantly warm aura which is neither too sweet nor too much of a vanilla-gourmand fragrance until the very end. Everything seems to be at its right place, nothing is used in overdose or seems out of proportion, it's all about balance and equilibrium. I recommend this scent to women and men who want a warm ambery scent for the colder season, a fragrance which is lovely in its moderation, not loud, never over-powering. "L'Ambre des Merveilles" is my personal favourite among "Les Merveilles". I'm glad I can finally wear an HERMES-scent in fall/winter, too.

La Treizième Note Femme by Absolument Parfumeur

"La Treizième Note", the thirteenth note. Does it have anything to do with music? No. The inspiration for this pretty fragrance comes from Tom Tykwer's famous film "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer". Not included in the novel by Süskind, but introduced into the film-spript, the "treizième note" is explained as follows: "In ancient Egypt people thought that they could create a great and unique perfume simply by adding one note, the 13th note, the final essence, different from all the others, but also dominating the amphora was found one day in the tomb of a pharaoh and once it was opened, it released a perfume. After thousands of years, the perfume had such a subtle beauty and such a power that for an instant, everyone living on earth thought they were in paradise. 12 essences could be identified… but the 13th essence … the vital one, could never be identified." Could you possibly aim higher when calling a new perfume "La Treizième Note"? Fortunately, I did not know this impressive background-story when I tested the scent. I'm not a friend of background-stories anyway. The perfume should be able to speak for itself. But when researching some information about this 13th-note-thing, I vaguely remembered the film "Le Parfum" ... and then I thought, sure, the idea to create such a paradisic fragrance is fabulous. Now the disappointment: This fragrance is not what I would expect given the name and the background. Would you believe that la treizième note is pineapple? A fine, ripe pineapple, taking you on a perfumed voyage to some tropical isles in the sun. The pineapple is then topped with soft flowery notes (rose, mimosa, jasmine), and there might even be some heliotropin lurking among all this. Well, "La treizième note" is a beautiful, subtle fruity-flowery perfume. Delicious French desserts spring to my mind, because I can also smell some peach, vanilla and honey, in fact, "La Treizième Note" is so delicious you almost feel an urge to take a sip of it onto your tongue...- but don't forget, you have to love pineapple. A lovely perfume indeed, but not for an instant did I think I was in paradise. Once again, there should be more to my personal paradise than pineapple, mimosa, peach and vanilla.

L'Eau d'Issey Eau d'Ete 2011 Issey Miyake

If never wore the original Issey M. - too strong, too monotonous. But this year's (2011) summer scent comes as a nice surprise. It is much softer and lighter than I expected and the heart is a trifle flowery. A pleasant and uplifting fragrant veil for warm, suny days. This is an aquatic fragrance I am wearing with immense pleasure. Bonus: Lovely flacon and packaging.

L'Eau de Kasaneka by Menard

Good scent, very much in the style of "Feminité du bois". Woody and warm - but -alas - very poor staying power. The press material says something about Ambrette having been used in this composition, but I cannot detect it. Conveys a soft, warm feeling.

L'enfant terrible by Jovoy

Okay, Jovoy does "Feminité du bois" with a more emphasis on cumin and nutmeg in the headnotes. Since I love "Feminité du bois", I also enjoy this foresty, earthy fragrance with cedar and sandalwood. "L'Enfant terrible" uses stronger concentrations of spices (as I said: strong on cumin) and cedarwood than the reformulated "Feminité du bois" - the spices are used to soften the sombreness of the wood and to add warmth and earthiness. Not a very imaginative formula, of course, since too closely related to "Feminite´du bois", but nevertheless an award-winning perfume I'd love to add to my collection. (Again: Those who can't stand cumin will not be amused).

Le Chevrefeuille by Goutal

This is a very beautiful creation which should serve as a model for all other honeysuckle fragrances. It is light and bright and accessible to everybody, even to very young and inexpereinced "noses". Does not last very long and should be sprayed on generously, since it is an "Eau", not a full perfume. Delightful.

Le Monde est beau by Kenzo

First of all, I love the name of this perfume. Secondly, I love its smell, which brings back good memories and is beautiful, radiant and fresh. It smelles of grapfruit, juicy, mouth-watering ice-cream and other citrus fruits, very controled and without sharpness. Good stying power and a very graceful bottle... in many ways, true to its name.

Let's Move by Benetton

Olivier Pescheux created many best-selling fragrances, for example "1 Million for Man" for Paco Rabanne, "Iris Noir" and "Voile d'Ambre" for Yves Rocher or "Feérie" for van Cleef&Arpels. But he also did many "niche" scents for Diptyque. "Let's move" is a fragrance Pescheux composed for Benetton in 2012 and it's probably not going to become a blockbuster. Why? I guess it's too light and fresh and the formula is too commonplace. Up front we have citrus&pepper, followed by lavender&cedar. Tonka&vanilla smooth down the edges with their customary softness. "Let's move" is a very open and unpretentious scent, but it will probably not manage to insinuate itself into classic male cologne status. Not modern enough, not sexy enough, too quiet. But quite likeable.

L'Instant Magic by Guerlain

Disappointing. Flowery with a modern touch, the drydown is much better than the start. Recently, Kate Moss (i.e. Coty) released a similar scent with "Vintage". L'Instant Magic seems to be aimed at a young audience, but lacks originality and boldness.

Liberté by Cacharel

I've worn this for a while, a remarkable caramello-toffee note, very warm and pleasant, slightly reminiscent of Lolita Lempicka "Original". Like a bar of chocolate with orange peel and a touch of licquorice in it. Cosy and friendly.

Life Threads Platinum by La Prairie

This is a modern chypre you'll either love or loathe. It is a characteristic and potent mix of flowers and galbanum, the strong sap from Persia which is sharp and pungent. To this is added a crush of spices - and the result is pretty strong stuff, not heavy, but insistent. I find it compelling and think it is brilliant addition to the usual La-Prairie line-up, which is far more conventional and less daring in attitude. To me, it is the best La Prairie-fragrance ever.

1000 by Jean Patou

Wonderful, complicated, gloomy. A serious fragrance for women who don't want to seduce at the first glance. I'd say it is ideal for the "brainy, intellectual" type. Dark and a bit of a mystery. Elegant and sophisticated. A true masterpiece.

Ambre Noir by Yves Rocher

One of my best friends (who is not into perfumes, btw) calls Yves Rocher a "democratic brand". What he actually wants to express is the fact that YR's fragrances are widely available and that YR offers decent quality at reasonnable prices. The current YR-portfolio contains a number of pleasant fragrances and the latest scent "for men" in the line manages to live up to the reputation of its sisters and brothers with typical YR reliabilty and quality. Created by Christoph Raynaud (he of "1 Million", "My Insolence" and "Karleidoscope"), "Ambre Noir" is a medley of patchouli and vetiver, cardamon, lavender, cedarwood, violet leaves and tonka bean plus the beautiful essential oil of elemi which adds a sensuous whiff to that good old favourite called "Amber". This fragrance is not strong, but discreet, warm and refined. The woody notes bring it down to earth and the "elemi resin" adds a sense of mystery. There is something "private" about this scent, it stays on my skin for hours, but doesn't communicate with others unless they come very close. It may not immediately appeal to the pure-minded "amber-lovers", but it manages to be both warm and light, spicy and transparent. A winner.

Aire Sensual by Loewe

The sparkling top-notes give me an initial boost and offer a real pick-me-up. Not what I expected - but good! This is no average fruity-floral, Loewe often surprises me with quality fragrances. The spirit-lifting notes in "Aire Sensual" are not working alone. After a while, richer musky and woody notes (cedar, vetiver) kick in. They add character to the fragrance and confidence to the wearer. Not a sweet fragrance - the soft rosy-red colour of the liquid is misleading. "Aire Sensual" ticks the citrus-woody box.

Amber Oud by Parfums de Nicolai

"Amber Oud" by Patricia de Nicolai starts with an extremely prominent lavender note accompanied by cedarwood, which is quite an unexpected and new approach to yet another "amber plus oud" fragrance on the market. But to my great dismay, the heart-note is skanky and animalic in an unpleasant way. Is it the oud used by PdN or the castoreum also mentioned in the pyramide published by the house? I really don't know, but this particular facet of wild, skanky substances spoils the fragrance for me. Tonka bean and vanilla are the main ingredients used to create the drydown of this unusual oud-scent. Not my cup of tea, but an interesting alternative to other "Amber Ouds" which smell more conventional. This one is very, very special.

Ambre by Arno Sorel

Say "Hello" to a fantastic, well-constructed amber-fragrance which smells as if it came from a niche firm (think "Ambre Fétiche" by Annick Goutal or "Ambra" by Etro). "Ambre" by Arno Sorel received a consumer-award ("Prix de beauté") in France last year and I can clearly understand why: it does the same things expensive amber-scents do at a fraction of their price. I paid 5 (five!) Euros for my bottle. The entire Arno Sorel range sold out within a week at our local drugstore.

Amore Mio Forever by Jeanne d'Arthes

An average fruity floral with a fresh opening and a fruity-flowery heart of peach and artificial jasmine. In spite of the cute bottle and packaging, this will not become a scent I'll love "forever" since it lacks personality. On the other hand, "Amore Mio Forever" is as decent a fruity-floral as higher priced fragrances in this category.

Clive Christian No. 1

This is labelled "the most expensive perfume in the world"! Is it worth all the money you have to cash out for it? My husband gave this to me for my birthday and I had a chance of indulging in a blind test before getting the actual present. I wore Clive Christian No. 1 for an entire day without any bias, without even knowing if it was French, English, Italian... - and I immensely enjoyed it from the very first minute I sprayed it on. It smells lush, opulent and grand. Every experienced nose can tell you that it is made from top ingredients only. It's a gorgeous woody floral with an ultra-elegant, Chanel-like vibe to it. Not very innovative or modern, but a great perfume in the classic mould certainly worth a try.

Boisé Torride

is an Eau de Parfum from the "Les Elixir Charnel" series . The name is a bit misleading, since the fragrance is not very woody. Although it contains patchouli and cedarwood, it is not your typical woody fragrance in the style of "Feminité du bois". It rather resembles a refined version of a typical "Floriental" – think "Coco Mademoiselle." "Boisé Torride" would certainly appeal to a much larger audience if its price was lower. 180 € for 75 ml of such a fragrance are too much. The composition by Thierry Wasser dating back to 2009 cannot be called innovative, nevertheless the scent is quite appealing and above all "hot" – in the sense of sexy, but also in the sense of emanating some kind of pleasant warmth. The top notes of bergamot, pink pepper and tangerine are hardly relevant for the overall effect of the EdP, which is mainly governed by sweet and "cosy" notes. Guerlain mentions the component "marshmallow", combined with orange blossom, jasmine, white musk and cedarwood/patchouli. The result is a sensual fragrance that points into the gourmand direction. Examples from the past are "Angel" and the already mentioned "Coco Mademoiselle". The Guerlain fragrance is more refined, subtle, however, I think I can smell some ethylmaltol here, one of the main ingredients of "Angel". Compared to this olfactory bomb "Boisé Torride" is rather quiet, but it does have some aspects of a "sweet treat". It wears comfortably, especially in colder temperatures. As I said before, the composition is not outstanding. Perhaps Guerlain's "Boisé Torride" could make a great mainstream perfume (like "La petite robe noire", which was released by the Maison Guerlain in 2009 before it was turned into a mainstream fragrance in 2012). As a mainstream perfume, "Boisé torride" should be renamed and marketed under the name of say "Miss Guerlain" or "Guerlain Jeune Fille" , paying tribute to the girly aspects of the fragrance and its "marshmallow-message" . Wearing "Boisé Torride" is a pleasure (longevity and sillage are average), but given the hype Guerlain creates around their "Les Exclusifs" and the rare distribution, "Boisé Torride" is too average a fragrance.

Bliss Eau de toilette by Bliss

"Bliss" could have been a great fragrance, but it is "too green" for me. "Green" in an extreme way, because it presents massive amounts of green sap, green grass and cucumber notes that seem to have escaped from a chemical factory. The greenery is mixed with acquatic overtones, flowers (lily, violet) and a bit of musk. "Bliss EdT" wants to render the atmosphere at a "Bliss Spa", but the air in this Spa is filled with stifling swathes of grass and cucumber in high, unnatural concentration. Reminds me of a salad, not of a "Spa". If you want to convey a strong, green olfactory message - give "Bliss" a try.

Chatoyant by Rouge Bunny Rouge

"Rouge Bunny Rouge" is another English brand which presents high-quality fragrances inspired by the world of botanics. "Chatoyant" features the beautiful orchid, introduced by fresh lemons, bergamot and coconut-like topnotes. Jasmine, lily of the valley and rose combine with the dominant orchid which is embedded with sandalwood, cedarwood vanilla and musk. The result is a flowery and romantic perfume, a trifle too sentimental for me, but nevertheless quite charming. In structure it is not unlike the beautiful "Orchidée & Vanille" by van Cleef&Arpels, but younger and a bit more innocent. All in all, it's a lovely scent, a perfume definitely of the garden and not of the hothouse.

Chemical Bonding by Ineke

Smells like washing-up liquid. Nothing I'd want to smell of. Found it rather nasty.

Chloé (new) by Chloé

A very potent, cloying mix featuring an abstract, new artificial rose from a chemical lab. Very mono-linear, very clear, lacking depth and development. Being the sheer opposite of a multi-facetted scent, this fragrance bores me stiff and creates a cold atmosphere. Opposite of a so-called "hug-me" fragrance. Picture it on icy women.

Chloé Narcisse by Chloé

Over-powering, cloying, nasty. One of the worst fragrances dating back to the 90's I ever encountered. Fragrances of this type contribute to some people's hatred of perfumes in general.

Charme by La Perla

Like this perfume very much, it is very artfully harmonised in a subtle way, appeals to my (sometimes) warm and sentimental heart. I find it quite gentle, it is not cloying, indeed, it doesn't last very long ( what a pity!). Nevertheless, a great way to wear La Perla - even without underwear.

Chypre d'Orient by Molinard

This is a very light chypre with poor staying powers. It does not live up to the reputation of the great Molinard classics like Habanita or Molinard de Molinard. The first impression is very good, a fine accord of herbs and citrussy notes (neroli, bergamotte, mandarin), but then you wonder where all the lovely notes go to...the middle notes are subtle, the drydown is pleasant, but not tenacious at all. I swamped myself into the huge sample I got today, but all that is left after 20 minutes is a whiff of some unobtrusive scent. So for me there is nothing to be gained from this "Chypre", it is not strong enough to pass as a true oriental and too tame to draw attention to the wearer or to cause a stir on the market. 58 Euros per 100 ml in the local shop here in Frankfurt, much cheaper online if you turn to the Molinard Website in France. This perfume does not in the least sum up the great idol it was named after.

Chai Tea Demeter Fragrance

This is basically the smell of cinnamon-tea - plain and simple. Good on a cold, wintery day, may also be used as a "parfum d'ambiance". Staying power is good (up to 4 hs on my skin). 5 out of 10 on my personal scale


























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Cabotine Gold by GRES

Excellent staying-power, fantastic sillage, a very low price coupled with an attractive vessel and a brand I used to love (thinking of Cabochard or Cabaret)- yet I'd say this is an average scent.   Why? It's a blatant knock-off, a floral oriental which smells like a cross between Chanel's "Coco Mademoiselle EdT" and Yves Saint Laurent's "Elle". Since there are many gals and guys out there who love "Coco Mademoiselle" and/or "Elle", I can only recommend you test "Cabotine Gold" as long as it is still available. I paid 7 Euros for my 100 ml bottle. There are many "Coco Mademoiselle" - copies which smell much worse, don't last and come in awfully ugly vessels. This said - why has the house of GRES gone down the drain? Since the release of "Cabaret" in 2003, they have stopped producing anything outstanding.

Foin Fraichement Coupé by Oriza L. Legrand

A new fragrance which smells strikingly old-fashioned - but in a good way. This charming scent expresses the perfumer's intense appreciation of the beauty of nature. It's full of gentle warmth- imagine yourself under a shady tree in spring deeply inhaling the mild air. Aromatic notes are there, but they aren't fierce, you catch a whiff of soothing hay and the earthiness of ivy and clary sage plus a very fine note of white, soft musk. All of this is very subtle, a wonedrful softness that Oriza L. Legrand achieves without any effort. Tinges of green (clover) were added to create a fresh but not strident effect. An outdoorsy fragrance, of course, which emanates a sensuous charm below the surface. "Foin f. coupé" is a beautiful scent which appeals to me in its versatility, great on both sexes and suitable wherever you go. No flowers, no aldehydes, no amber, no oudh, no intentions of seduction. Wearing it is like following a distant tune in a springtime forest that calls for you to enter, a beguilingly romantic concept which leaves you with an idea of sensual awareness beyond the harsh world of synthetic mainstream fragrances. A small wonder.

Givenchy Harvest 2010 Very Irresistible Rose Damascena Givenchy

Very pretty fragrance. The high quality can be felt from the first spray onwards till the very end i.e. drydown. Richer and more expressive than the "regular" Very Irresistible. If you love roses and want a pleasant, classy and elegant scent, this edition might be the right thing for you. A very safe and tasteful choice. Would also make a gorgeous present.

Gocce di Napoleon by Morris

Extremely sharp and peppery opening - sneeze-inducing ( this hardly ever happens to me). Green and mossy tones in the heart, dries down to a classic male fougere-note. Probably better on a man than on a woman, this highly original peppery start of the fragrance brought tears to my eyes - not because of its beauty, but because of the fact that it made me sneeze... - and - always makes me sneeze (on re-appliction... I gave it several tries on several days). "Tears of Napoleaon" taken literally - what else could you want?

ABIME by Humiecki & Graef


A fabulously warm and spicy fragrance, rich, tenacious, sensuous. It uses woody and leathery ingredients to achieve a deep and long-lasting impact. Once it settles on you, the underpinnings of patchouli and labdanum will throb in the background, far more personal and intimate than you'd normally expect, while fascinating accords of blackberry and mossy accents take the lead. I've never bought a Humiecki&Graef fragrance before, most of them are highly individual scents, very original creations, but not 100% my cup of tea. The new "ABIME"-fragrance is a perfume I enjoy, the outspoken woodiness is gorgeous and reminds me of a discontinued powerhouse fragrance by Guy Laroche, "J'ai osé". Very compelling to me and magnetic to others (two people wanted to know what I was wearing). Can't quite make head or tail of the name "Abime", meaning "abyss" or "deep hollow" in English. A bit too dramatic, I'd say.

Antigua 1937 by Morph

"Morph" sell their fragrances in beautiful boxes designed by Fedrigoni. They also try to boost sales by embedding their products into mini short stories published in a small booklet. The marketing people at "Morph's" want "Antigua 1937" to be regarded as an adventure in perfume, flodding the senses with waterlily, seagrass and wild thyme. A lot of mystique has been heaped on the reason for the name of this perfume, even going so far as to link it to pure alchemy, but what we actually get here is an aquatic fragrance done in "niche style". It is reminiscent of the sea and sand, its outdoorsy freshness derives from a salty component and a bunch of thyme plus a musky base turn it into a summery, carefree scent. It lasts very well, fading with a sexy smell of tonka bean and musk. Many other niche companies carry similar scents, for example Il Profvmo (Aria di Mare), Lostmarch (A'OD), Tokyomilk (Marine Sel No.54) or Profumi del Forte (Tirrenico). They've all been around for a couple of years now.

Basier Volé Lys Rose by Cartier

The high-singing aroma of pink lilies, innocent, beautiful, was mingled with the fruity scent of a pink rose. If you couldn't warm up to the lily-soliflore "Baiser volé" in the past, you might want to give this lovely flanker a try. "Lys Rose" is all done with a kind of angelic innocence, perfumer Mathilde Laurent managed to compose yet another beautifully flowery scent with an exultant top note of rosy loveliness. This relatively soft and yet penetrating perfume is rounded off with a certain powderiness and lasts up to five hs on my skin. I'd still categorise this scent as a soliflore, because in the end the lily clearly dominates and the rosy aspect fades away. "Baiser volé lys rose" is an easy and lyrical perfume to wear - provided you love the smell of lilies and roses. I see it as a new breed of lighter, less complicated Cartier-scents. Pretty.

Cologne by Etat Libre d'Orange

A 'nice scent': blood orange, bergamot, orange blossom, jasmine, musk, leather... - that's what it says on my sample. "Cologne" is one of the latest EldO scents, but as the name indicates, it is a traditional Eau de Cologne that presents a cool, fresh topnote through which the bergamot-jasmine heart emerges with clarity and without any sweetness. A pleasant scent which represents the genre in an exhilarating and vivacious fashion. Hints of leather and musk only appear at the final stage. Ageless and unfussy.

Classic Orange by Von Eusersdorff


The slogan in the advertisment tells us that Von Eusersdorff produce "inspiringly different fragrances", but the line-up consists of five very traditional scents, all of them called "Classic". So we have "Classic Patchouli, Classic Myrrh, Classic Mimosa" etc. The person behind the brand is Camille Henfling, a desendant of the German Von Eusersdorff family, who were expert traders in rare essences and whose long-standing tradition Henfling aspires to rejuvenate. But does he manage to breathe new life into classic fragrances? I tested them all, but couldn't detect any modern twist let alone any new or surprising element in the fragrances Von Eusersdorff presented so far. "Classic Patchouli" is their best offering, yet there are so many other patchoulis out there that I can't quite see the point of yet another "dark patch" combined with vanilla and sandalwood.

But let's turn to "Classic Orange" now. "Classic Orange" is a composition which does what it promises on the label, i.e. you need to love the smell of blood orange in order to appreciate it. I don't get much of the suede leather or the Chinese osmanthus cited in the pyramide, which is a pity, because I love leathery accords and I love osmanthus. What I do get is a faint note of black tea and a lot of petitgrain, a fairly pleasant combo, but no world-shaker. The orange remains the dominant force in this scent, which stays linear on my skin. Considering the promise of "inspiringly different fragrances", I'm not impressed. - Please note that I'm no friend of monothematic orange-fragrances in general and that orange, neroli and everything centred around this aroma is one of my least favourite notes. Someone who likes orange might come to a completely different conclusion about "Classic Orange" than I did.

Déclaration L'Eau by Cartier

A flanker, yes, but a good one. First of all, the latest interpretation of "Déclaration" is perfectly unisex. It offers fresh top-notes of grapefruit, mint and lemon, all of which are fantastic in summer. After the gorgeous, ice-cold start, the spicy-woody signature of the familiar original Déclaration-fragrance takes over and you can clearly decipher some cedar accords faintly echoing "Terre d'Hermes" (both scents were composed by the great J.C. Elléna). Mathilde Laurent copied the structure of the original "Déclaration" and added those blazing top-notes thus offering a new and uncomplicated alternative to everybody who is looking for a summer-scent with a difference, i.e. not done in the boring "sports style" and not dominantly acquatic. "Déclaration l'Eau" is full of sparkling energy and one of those rare flankers which really fill a gap and don't seem like ridiculous add-ons.

Collection Été 2014 by Yves Rocher

Bergamot, lemon and mandarin plus a heart of citrus flowers. Very pleasant, refreshing, just slightly acquatic. Very poor staying-power. "Collection D'Eté" is a holiday companion, light and airy, strictly a summer relaxer. It would be much better if it was more tenacious, but I suppose that perfumer Francis Kurdijan was working on a very tight budget when he created this new Yves Rocher scent. The Mediterranean motive is achieved by a minimum of ingredients. Nice work.

Fan Extreme by Fendi (no pic)

First 30 min: I was impressed and delighted at the same time. Great top-notes of bergamot and lemon, a whiff of flowers and a gorgeous leathery aspect in the heart, reminding me of "Daim blond". Immediate urge to order a full bottle.
After 30 min: Disappointment! Some boring vanilla announces its presence and a musky aspect I don't enjoy either make me think again.
After one hour: Fair enough, a fragrance well above average with a beautiful leathery note and a fascinating development. The drydown is not as good as the promising start and the soft leathery heart.As a collector, I wouldn't mind owning the bottle, but will not purchase for the sake of the juice itself.

Gingembre Rouge by Roger & Gallet

Very beautiful scent. Not too pungent on the ginger, just a hint of it. Loads of refreshing pomegranate and pretty lychees, fresh, fruity, gorgeous like a tasty cocktail. Very nice in hot weather. Unfortunately, "Gingembre Rouge" is only an "Eau fraiche" and has no staying-power. It's gone after 10 min. Quite safe and unobtrusive, not hurting anybody's nose for sure, but far too expensive given the poor sillage and extremely bad longevity. Nevertheless wonderful while you perceive it.

L L'Aime by Lolita Lempicka

I loved the "Elle l'aime" Eau de Parfum version, but the latest flanker, a lighter Eau de Toilette, is very pleasant, too. People who don't like coconut will be happy to hear that "L L'Aime" skipped this note and replaced it by red currant. "L L'Aime" is a mélange of fruity and flowery scents, not very complex, but the nice thing about it is its vivacity. This EdT shines with light and is so friendly it can go anywhere with confidence. Don't worry about seasons, you can always tell him/her you love them "L L'Aime" = the right message.

Little Black Dress by Avon

Average fragrance, "un petit sent-bon", nothing else. Loads of aldehydes, to be seen in one line with other cheaper fragrances like "Chléa" by Yves Rocher etc. - Rather unobtrusive, not offensive, but certainly nothing Coco Chanel would have worn together with her famous little black dress.

Basier Volé Lys Rose by Cartier

The high-singing aroma of pink lilies, innocent, beautiful, was mingled with the fruity scent of a pink rose. If you couldn't warm up to the lily-soliflore "Baiser volé" in the past, you might want to give this lovely flanker a try. "Lys Rose" is all done with a kind of angelic innocence, perfumer Mathilde Laurent managed to compose yet another beautifully flowery scent with an exultant top note of rosy loveliness. This relatively soft and yet penetrating perfume is rounded off with a certain powderiness and lasts up to five hs on my skin. I'd still categorise this scent as a soliflore, because in the end the lily clearly dominates and the rosy aspect fades away. "Baiser volé lys rose" is an easy and lyrical perfume to wear - provided you love the smell of lilies and roses. I see it as a new breed of lighter, less complicated Cartier-scents. Pretty.

67 Artemisia by Pomellato

"67 Artemisia" by Pomellato is the first unisex fragrance by the Italian brand which is famous for fashion jewelry. I have no idea what the number "67" stands for, but it does not seem to allude to a "hippy" fragrance, because the scent is a fresh citrus- aromatic EdT featuring top notes of mint and lemon. Its opening reminded me of a discontinued fragrance by Isabella Rossellini, but then the unusual combo of artemisia and absinthe breaks new ground with quite a challeging and unusual green and slightly woody potpourri. The great Annick Menardo composed "67 Artemisia", and I think she totally captured the Mediterranean spirit of the brand, giving the scent a certain dryness (due to the artemisia) that is a perfect counterpoint to the base notes of olive wood, patchouli and musk. "67 Artemisia" could be a nice holiday companion for those who want their fragrances to smell a bit "different".

Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent 2014

"Black Opium" - a new scent by YSL? It would be better to openly declare on the package that it's a product by L'Oreal. The marketing people have tried very hard to make the most of a legend, but the result is a flanker which smells like a cross of "La Vie est belle", "Flowerbomb" and "Si" with a touch of coffee. Mediocrity, here you come. The bottle is from cheap-looking plastic and doesn't impress me much. Staying-power is good, but that's the only positive thing I have to say about this kind of horror from France. A coarse and chemical scent capable of turning me into a perfume-hater.

Dahlia Divin by Givenchy

LVHM - do you really mean this?
Givenchy used to be such a gorgeous brand. I'm still in awe of perfumes like "Ysatis", "L'Interdit", or "Givenchy III".
But this new Dahlia-flanker is not in the least divine and very remote from anything I'd associate with "gold". "When gold meets fragrance" it says on my sample. And they call it a "lush floral woody". What? "Amouage Gold" is a lush floral - but there is no way of comparing the multi-layered Amouage to this watered-down, nondescript floral by Mr Demarchy. (The guy runs the risk of ruining his repution if he continues to put his name under such bland fragrances). I can't detect any real flowers in "Dahlia Divin", just some artificial aromachemicals used by the knowledgeable chemist in order to mimick some kind of - "flower". "Dahlia Divin" is extremely boring and even worse than the new "Black Opium", which I also dislike. LVMH still come up with beautiful perfume vessels and clever marketing ideas, pretty names and packagings. But the content? Actually, not even worth writing about. Another huge disappointment.

Jasmin du Malabar by Rancé 1795

Capturing the essence of jasmine is not as easy a task at it may seem, but Rancé has come up with a beautiful, sun-splashed, brilliant version which isn't a jasmine-soliflore in the ordinary sense. Three different types of jasmine unite in order to produce a complex harmony. Tangerine and bergamot are the catalysts that carry the jasmine to an elevated position and trigger the other ingredients (orange flower, mimosa) into pulsating action. "Jasmin du Malabar" could be your ideal jasmine-scent, very tenacious and very "dynamic" because of the high concentration of the jasmine ingredients used. An extraordinarily rich fragrance, bright and beautiful, a fantastic reflief from all those artificial jasmines on the market.

Daisy Dream by Marc Jacobs

Alberto Morillas is one of the best perfumers in the world - and his creative output is immense. Think of masterpieces like "Armani Sensi", "Mugler Cologne", "Kenzo Flower", or of last year's "Iris Prima" or "Flower in the Air", to name just a few of his compositions.

This year's "Daisy Dream" for Marc Jacobs/Coty is closely related to the light, charming scent of Kenzo's "Flower in the Air". And, of course, "Daisy Dream" is the youngest sister of the "Daisy"- collection. The new scent is a pretty, fresh, volatile harmony with a sudden rush of fruit and flowers. Not very distinctive, but so pleasant and totally innocent while it lasts - i.e. for 15 min. And that's the real drawback about "Daisy Dream": it has no staying-power at all.

Euphoria Gold by Calvin Klein

Do you love honey? And do you like "Euphoria"? Then the new limited edition scent could be your cup of tea (with honey, of course). The familiar structure of "Euphoria", the fruity candyfloss, can still be experienced under huge layers of sweet, golden honey. I found it nauseating. But then again, I really dislike honey.

Fleur de Reine by Alfredo Pauly
Alfredo Pauly is a German designer whose clothes I'd never wear. Until recently I thought the fragrance he sells on television would be trashy and unwearable. On the contrary. Of course, if you're not into big, fat florals, you shouldn't really be wearing this ultra-voluptuous fragrance. I was pleased to discover that the anonymous perfumer from Grasse (the fragrance was created and produced there and packaged in Cologne) used a stunning concentration of jasmine and tuberose, orange blossom and rose. The opulent floral mix is finished off with musk and woody accords as a fixative and really lasts and lasts. The television ad explains that "Fleur de Reine" used to be a perfume worn by Marie Antoinette - but I don't believe this, because it reminds me of other grand more contemporary 20th century florals in the style of "Gardenia" by Isabey or "Fracas" by Piguet. "Fleur de Reine" has an immediate appeal and doesn't reveal many subtleties. It's a fragrance that lingers with a poignant charm even after you have left the room.

Knot by Bottega Veneta
I had high hopes for this one (strong ties to the first Bottega Veneta fragrance), but can't form any attachment to "Knot". It is a white floral with notes of orange blossom, neroli, white rose and peony. The added lavender enhances the "bathroom effect": the smell of fresh soap and herbaceous cleanliness, white bathtowels, white tiles. "Knot" does not belong to the plethora of common fruity florals, but it's somewhat generic in its use of orange blossom plus neroli, plus lavender &musk. The result is a common fragrance with synthetic overtones. No knot in my handkerchief to remind me of buying this one (in spite of the fantastic perfume vessel).

Lalique de Lalique

"Lalique de Lalique", released in 1992, has already become a classic, always extremely beautifully presented in various collector's editions. It harks back to the days of floral perfumes done in a "symphonic" style. (And it was created by Sophia Grojsman!). Sumptuous and opulent, it smells as if it was intended to be the expression of Lalique's reputation for the most beautiful perfume vessels on the planet. "Lalique de Lalique" combines all ingredients of elegance from its top notes of jasmine and clove to its heart of iris, rose, jonquil, orange blossom and vanilla, all embedded into a beautiful accord of amber, sandalwood and musk. A deadly serious perfume, very luxurious, but somehow a bit conventional. I guess you could call it "classy" with its arrangement of beautiful flowers - and that's the idea behind it. The clues here are obvious when you think of the Lalique tradition. You'll feel like a lady wearing this perfume which is the olfactory opposite of vulgar. With its innate poise and confidence, "Lalique de Lalique" is perfect for sophisticated, "mature" and self-confident women, pour la "grande dame".
I'm afraid that many women and men under 40 will probably dislike it, because they were brought up with lighter, fruitier and fresher fragrances. Nevertheless worth a try if you're into the floral category.

L'Eau d'Issey Lotus

Alberto Morillas created a new flanker of "L'Eau d'Issey" featuring the delicate lotus flower. Fans of the original aquatic "L'Eau d'Issey" will adore this. "Lotus" is a bit of an artificial scent, calone and other aromachemicals reign and the input of new ideas is quite low. The flowery aspect makes the fragrance quite sweet, but the famous transparent touch is still there. Lovely bottle-design.

Black Stone by Al ramHaain

Do you remember "Poison" , the 1986's sillage-monster? You probably know the original perfume and I'm sure you have noticed the reformulated version, which is a shadow of its old self. BLACK STONE by Al Haramain takes you back to the days of the 80's powerhouse-fragrances. In the beginning, it smells like the old Poison. But unfortunately, BLACK STONE contains a strong note of urine, missing from the original "Poison", of course. This unpleasant aspect (particulary noticeable in the drydown!) ruins the entire fragrance. I have no idea why the brand advertises this as a "masculine" scent.

Black XS Potion Femme by Paco Rabanne

The original Black XS was too sweet and too fruity for me, but "Black XS Potion" is quite different. It is more aromatic and smells surprisingly good. Neither pretty nor romantic, "Potion" gives the impression of a wilful, tempestuous beauty. "Black XS Potion" is loaded with dark flowers, spices and sandalwood, but I can't smell one aspect predominating, as if all the ingredients had been thrown into a cauldron until a rich and warm scent emerged. I think it could develop some seductive powers, but you'll either be drawn into its magic or you'll dislike it completely. This fabulous new Paco Rabanne scent could be described as a floriental with a touch of woody "masculinity". You'll certainly make your presence felt wearing it.

Eau de Gaga by Lady Gaga

Astonishingly well-behaved. First, green notes and citrus (lime) create the impression of a classic Unisex Eau. The basic melody is then formed by strong accords of bitter, woody notes (not as leathery as you'd expect when reading the pyramide). What emerges is an accomplished, assured yet alluring new take on the "Eau", not reminiscent of the first "Lady Gaga" with all its laughter and scintillation, but designed for the older clientele. "Eau de Gaga" is much better than I expected with its bitter, dark aura of greenage. "Gaga" goes granny.

Extatic (Eau de Parfum) by Balmain

Balmain jumped on the band-waggon of fruity-floral Jimmy Choo and his numerous friends. I wanted the really beautiful bottle for my collection, but if you're not keen on the vessel, but on the fragrance itself, you'll find that "Extatic" smells like many of the other mainstream syrupy perfumes out there - with an accent on nashi-pear, orange blossom and a very loud base of cashmeran with dashes of sweet caramel. The house of Balmain gave us "Vent Vert", "Jolie Madame" and "Ivoire", to name just a few of their gorgeous old school perfumes . Unfortunately, their latest baby - misleadingly called "Extatic" - is one of the most disappointing fragrances of 2014.

Friction Her by French Connection / FCUK

No idea where the friction should come from, when you spray on this scent which is as nice and inoffensive as you can get with this particular brand. A pleasant combo of coconut and vanilla. I'm not really into coconut-fragrances, but with FRICTION HER, they got the balance right. Probably best enjoyed on summer skin on a balmy evening. Longevity is brilliant (as with all FCUK scents). Very affordable, too.

Green Tea Lavender by Elizabeth Arden

The lavender in this one is not very pronounced and seems rather unnatural. When it disappears, the rest of the scent is well-known: Arden's Green Tea, one of the most popular tea-fragrances. Unfortunately, I think that it does not epitomize "green tea", but a tortured mutant of this normally extremely beautiful note. "Green Tea Lavender" is overloaded with artificial aromachemicals and funnily enough, it is a rather strong EdT which lasts a long time. Probably the "Green Tea" - range is so popular because it would never be guilty of overstatement. A dull aproach, but a profitable one.

Hugo Woman Eau de Parfum (2015)

"An unconventional blend of rich floral and daring fruity notes with an aromatic twist". P&G's marketing department has come up with some expressive adjectives for their cardboard sample text. Alas, none of this blurp is true. "Boysenberry" in the top notes? I smell some nondescript fruit-thing. "Himalayan red grass?" That's a new one. Who would be in a position to judge what Himalayan red grass smells like? Good idea. Throw in some new aromachemical and label it with an exotic title...
"Black tea" and "jasmine" follow. Well, probably the one sold in plastic bottles with added preservatives and artificial sweetener. The base is supposed to contain "amber". Fine. That's kind of a wide notion... ample opportunity for the chemists to insert whatever they deem cheap enough into that uninventive bottle looking like a copy of Chanel's "Chance". The fragrance is boring and generic.

Irissime Noir by Jacques Fath

"Irissime Noir": the name is extremely misleading, because you'd be hard pressed to smell any iris in this lovely fragrance which was launched in 2014. Apricot and apple create a smooth and sweet beauty with middle notes of jasmine, rose and osmanthus. Very refined and feminine with an understated sensuousness created by the base notes of milk, vanilla and amber. The apricot can be perceived all the way through the drydown; very beguiling but not in the least "noir".
"Irissime Noir" is a comfortable and soft scent for everybody who loves milky apricots in a perfume.

Les Nombres d'Or - Oudh Osmanthus by Maison Mona di Orio

Probably one of the softest, friendliest oudh-fragrances I ever tried. It contains oudh of very high quality, breathtakingly removed from the conventional. The top notes are of raw green, but quickly fade away as the scent plunges into the depth of oudh. The unique presence of the osmanthus flower smoothes things down before patchouli, ambregris and cedarwood join in. A very sensuous and beguiling scent, not too pungent or woody-herbaceous. A unique oudh fragrance, its beauty and harmony set "Oudh Osmanthus" firmly apart from other competitors. If I had to pick an oudh-scent for myself, this would be the one.

Lola Velvet Marc Jacobs

Since I'm a collector of perfume vessels, this one was a "must-have" - and I got it as a present for X-Mas. Looks wonderful on my dressing-table - but I cannot wear the scent... neither can any of my daughters. Our cute little German "gummy-bears" smell and taste much better than this perfume, which is the incarnation of a fragrance smelling of a polythene sheet or a plastic bag, so utterly artificial and devoid of any natural ingredient that you start craving for Escada's Ibiza Hippie. Lola has no soul - it's stinking purple plastic in a bottle.

London by Autograph/Marks&Spencer

"Lively citrus, warm spice, intense florals and sensual musks combine to create a fabulous, cosmopolitan fragrance" - that's the commercial blurp. Should I say that once for a while it's true? Well, "London" is an astonishing perfume - and a bargain. To put it bluntly - it's one of the best cheapies I've ever tried. This is a fragrance which does not presume to automatically open doors, but it will help you if you understand its tactics. Take a good look at the bottle it comes in. It's simple and quite stylish. Easily the best bottle a Marks&Spencer fragrance ever had the luck to find itself in. "London" opens with notes of green sap and citrus, but then quickly adds some flowery aspects, freesia, I guess and white narcissus. Warm spices, coriander and pepper join in. The scent becomes warm and penetrating, certainly not reticent about its presence, but not in the least vulgar. It immediately appealed to the salesperson who worked at the lingerie-department, when I went there after having applied "London", she asked me which "wonderful scent" I was wearing and was surprised to hear that "London" was sold on the same floor she works on. "I always thought our fragrances are below average", she said. "But this one seems different." This inexpensive fragrance also made an impact on my German friends back home. London, the city, a delta of untold possibilities and horizons... - "London", the scent, a simple flask to see me perfectly equipped for my sojourn through the great safari of urban life.

Reviews A - L

All Copyrights © 2014 J. Richter

Reviews M - Z

Lovestruck Floral Rush by Vera Wang

Top-notes don't remind me of champagne or flowers as mentioned in the commercial blurp, but of the famous "Juicy-Fruit Bubblegum". You can also detect a hint of some artificial fruit mimicking mango or apricot in the very beginning - not too bad, but all of this has been done so many times before. It's incredibly repetitive. So far, so boring. But wait for the drydown. The drydown is clearly the worst part of the scent, it consists of some cheap musky amber with a clear "plastic" note and is hard to stomach. This fragrance should not be released from its lovely decorative bottle. The bottle is cute, it's fun and will grace the bathroom-shelves of many teenagers who can colour-coordinate their eye-shadow with the violet plastic-flowers the cap is made of. I'm a fan of trashy perfume-vessels and an avid collector of "perfumery-objects" of ALL kind, hence I bought this "thing", but I have no intention of using the contents.

Love and Tears by Kilian

A melodramatic name (catchy! Good marketing strategy!) for a very conventional flowery, light bouquet dominated by jasmine. "Love and tears" reminds me of "Jasmine" by Keiko Mecheri or "Jasmin 17" by Le Labo. All these are expensive niche creations which are - in my humble opinion - not worth their money, since they are boring takes on a very old, hackneyed theme done so many times before.

Love and Luck by Ed Hardy

Some people indulge in "Ed Hardy bashing" - taking the mickey out of this (admittedly) not very elegant/tasteful brand. The fragrance is often described as over-the-top vulgar and repulsive. Well, I don't agree. "Love & Luck" is an average citrus aromatic done in the style of many other popular sport fragrances. Headnotes are very citrussy, afterwards the scent evolves into the woody aromatic category with cypress and vetiver. I don't perceive any oud in this scent (as mentioned by the manufacturer). And there are hardly any spices in this fragrance either. "Love and Luck" is a clean, everyday scent for people who like the aromatic freshness of citrus. The fragrance is a bit generic, but it's not bad.

L'Orchidée by Léonard

A composition by Olivier Pescheux from 2006 featuring orchid, jasmine and tuberose. "L'Orchidée" is deliciously and unashamedly old-fashioned in nature, but it is a very delicate impression rather than a slavish imitation of the orchid. At first, the scent of the flower seems to be far away, but gradually it emerges shyly through a web of slightly woodsy and powdery notes. "L'Orchidée" is a very smooth, dewy scent, rounded and soft. I only smell some faintly fruity notes in the beginning, heart and drydown are flowery. And a floral fragrance is the best antidote to dreary wintertimes. "L'Orchidée" was on sale last week (november 2013) and heavily reduced and it's not the latest, most fashionable floral fragrance on the market, but I think it's worth a sniff before it will be discontinued.

Lú Donna by Ludovica Di Loreto

A beautiful fruity-floral with a difference! "Lú Donna" mixes traditional Italian scents like mandarin and Calabrian bergamot, lemon blossom and grapefruit. Although there are some conventional fruity notes in the centre, (raspberry, peony, apple), the addition of violet redefines this modern scent: no overripe bananas or mangos, but kind-hearted, soft floral beauty instead. The base consists of vanilla, white musk, patchouli and sandalwood for warmth and sensuality. "Lú" gives out sunny glints throughout the day and manages to epitomize "la dolce vita". Highly recommended.