Strass by Luciano Soprani


An astonishing scent. Opens with a burst of citrus, then shows its heart of green jasmine and iris teamed up with cinnamon. Gives way to a cool and green base of cedar, benzoin and oakmoss. A green floral woody chypre which sits right between Miss Balmain and the latest La Prairie Life Threads Platinum. Elegant and long-lasting. Seems to be underrated. Fantastic alternative to Balmain or even Robert Piguet (think Visa or Baghari).

Sublime by Jean Patou


Now somewhat reformulated, but still very elegant and easy to wear with a lady-like feel. A very "perfum-y" perfume, yet nothing I could fall in love with, because it is too well-behaved and somewhat conventional. Reminds me of the good old days when true ladies used to wear classy scents like Arpege and Chanel 22 ... - it is a fragrance nobody could object to - but it is - at least in its new, reformulated form, a trifle more faceless than it used to be. Nevertheless a much better choice than the loud, cloying novel mass-market perfumes.

Summer by Kenzo


"Summer" by Kenzo is not your usual summer-frag, but a "quiet" scent for anytime of the year. The golden warmth of amber, woods and musky notes is combined with a rich, remarkable mimosa-accord. It's an ideal scent to keep calm and to counteract chaos. Lovely. Not to be mixed up with "Parfum d'Eté", btw. I wanted to buy "Parfum d'été" for my sis and ended up with "SUMMER". Just didn't know they were different perfumes. Must confess that I prefer "Summer" to "Parfum d'été" (in its reformulated manner).

Sweet Oriental Dream Montale


A total scrubber! Honey, loukhum, hints of the "in-house built in" aoud-accord: a sickly sweet, cloying mess. Head-ache inducing and nearly no way of escaping it once it is on your skin - this potent mix lasts for ages. One of the worst Montales I ever tried.

Sweet William by Ineke


"Dianthus barbatus" is not everybody's cup of tea. You have to like the smell of the red-white bi-coloured flowers called "Sweet William" and I for my part do. I've got beds of them in my garden and adore the scent when they are in full bloom come May/June. But the scent is not a classical soliflore, "Sweet William" does not focus on one single flower alone. It also incorporates traces of peach, cumin and cinnamon to prop up and intensify the basic note, to make it "sing". I know it does not sing to everybody, but it sings to me in a beautiful way. It's a spicy, slightly earthy scent of flowerbeds and the entire litany of spring and summer gardens. Ineke has come up with a swag of beauties inspired by the flowers in her garden - and "Sweet William" happens to be my personal favourite. For me, the beautiful aroma of the flower is cross-breeded with dashes of just the right spices and a bit of bourbon vanilla to soften the earthiness. A welcome change from the stranglehold of the rose-jasmine flower brigade.

Tea Collection Earl Grey and Cucumber Jo Malone


Utterly lovely. Such a fine, balanced composition. Just one little drawback: In the true Jo Malone-style, "Early Grey&Cucumber" is an Eau de Cologne, so it stays very close to the skin and has no sillage. This said, it is a true pleasure you can enjoy for yourself. I'm currently using this as a pick-me-up fragrance for early mornings. Comes in a 30 ml bottles which easily slips into your handbag, but I wouldn't mind owning a 100ml flacon of this beauty! Bad news: This one was already sold out in June 2011 at the Harrods' counter in London and I was told that it's not going to come back...

Tendre Poison by Dior


Unfortunately,"Tendre Poison" has been discontinued. Fortunately, "Tendre Poison" is one of those great perfumes that polarise people. I don't dislike it at all, but my mother-in-law does. About 13 or 14 years ago I gave her a bottle of "Tendre Poison" which she returned to me with a smile in 2013. I think the reason for her not liking "Tendre Poison" is its sharp, shrill opening with galbanum and a fancy spicy note of asafoetida. Then there is tangerine... followed by artfully arranged flowers. Tuberose is in the centre, a light dash of freesia, a lavish accord of rose... - beautiful. Admittedly, "Tendre Poison" has not as much "tenderness" about it as you might expect. But I think it is a pleasure that a perfume from the 90's has so much dignified beauty and sophisticated strength which is further emphasized in the drydown, where you have a small explosion of vanilla and heliotrope, but still a feeling of "pastoral" green freshness. This mixture of lush greenness and tuberose complexity, this gorgeous mélange, gives a rich tapestry, an opulence you don't find in today's mainstream-releases. Thus my mother-in-law for once managed to make my day. After so many years, "Tendre Poison" came back to me when I had nearly forgotton about its achingly nostalgic beauty.

The Flower Shop by Jo Loves


That's what Jo Malone says about her fragrance: "As a sixteen year old, I worked as a florist. I loved the moment early each morning when the scent of fresh flowers filled the room and this fragrance celebrates that magical memory." "The Flower Shop" is a "nature-knows-best" fragrance. This is an ode to the glorious scent that fills the air at the florist's: subtle and green. If you think that huge floral bouquets are too cloying, this lovely new fragrance could be ideal for you. "The Flower Shop" is uplifing and fresh, but not overpowering. Well, I suppose it would be difficult to find a loud fragrance among Jo Malone's new line "Jo Loves..." anyway. Her first line specialised in colognes and "combination perfumery", whereas this new fragrance stands on its own. Longevity is a problem with the new range, too, and for the high price of around 90 Pounds Sterling per bottle one might expect more tenacity.

The Party by Profumeria Gambarini


It's a good fragrance - no doubt about that- but I think it copies the best part of Mitsouko without offering any new ideas. Many friends were so enthousiastic about it that I was nearly dying to try this scent, but unfortunately, I cannot quite join the concert of praise. The Party in Manhattan is a good chypre with a very old-fashioned feel to it (the name does not match the perfume in the least - I'd associate a scent with more oomph and a modernist approach) - but it is far too expensive and comes so close to Mitsouko that I can easily make do with my old Guerlain flacon of 7ml extrait.

The Secret Heroines of the Tsar Romea D`Ameor


What a misleading name. I expected something much more outstanding - but this scent is neither surprising, nor unique. It's done in the style of Coco Mademoiselle (but Coco M. is better!), a fruity fragrance mixed with woody notes. Girlish, playful - if you did a blind test, you'd never ever detect this was a "niche" ... I probably would have thought it was the latest "Nina" ... or something in this vein. Russian spies? Hardly. Maybe a cute, little Ninotchka in an embroidered red dress. Don't get me wrong: This juice doesn't smell bad at all. It smells pleasant. I simply don't see any point in buying such a fragrance for 120 Euros when Nina and Coco are cheaper and better - and readily available. Where's the point of "niche" here? is it just the label?

Thomas Szabo Charm Kiss


Marketed as "just delicious" this one is another trendy 2011 fragrance uniting several popular aromas: luscious chocolate, strawberry and champagne. Pleasant and playful, a lovely scent for young girls. Fades away very quickly. A similar fragrance was launched by La Perla earlier this year: Divina. Charm Kiss adds chocolate to Divina's champagne-strawberry combo - but that's the only remarkable difference.

Tirrenico Profumi del Forte


Tirrenico is surprising and original, it could even be wonderful - except for its strong fennel-note which you perceive after the top-notes have gone. It may also be some kind of "parsley water-dropwort"-smell - but if you are not into drinking ouzo or eating fennel... if you like your perfumes to smell more abstract and less "vegetarian" - you will NOT enjoy this stuff. I wanted to like it so much... and it does have its moments- but the strong fennel-note ruins it all for me. The sea is there, you can smell the sand and the ocean.. but why did they put fennel in the heart-note??? Excellent staying-power! 5 out of 10 on my personal scale

Tocade by Rochas


"Tocade" (1994) is a blast from the past, very loud, very strong. Coarse flower-accords (rose, gardenia) dominate for a very long time before a generous amount of pure vanilla kicks in. "Tocade" is a perfume for self-assured, confident women. It wraps you in an aura of uncomplicated and impetuous fun, it's neither subtle nor elegant, but rich and sumptuous in spite of its simple structure. Maurice Roucel composed this powerful perfume in 1994 and you need to be bold in order to douse yourself in this flower-power-cocktail today. It is recognisable on the spot and leaves a gigantic trail – so apply with caution. I have to confess that I never took to it. "Tocade" is one of the few perfumes by Rochas I really dislike.

Tosca by 4711


Are you looking for vintage "Tosca"? It's still very easy to find good specimen of this famous German fragrance everywhere on the internet, since nearly every granny who is NOT into perfume seems to be hiding a bottle of "Tosca" somewhere in her closet. I received my recent vintage flacon three weeks ago when my 84-year-old mother-in-law discovered her long-forgotton "Tosca" in the corner of her bedroom-shelf. When I was a teenager and started trying perfumes in department stores etc. I sneered at "Tosca". The image of the scent was extremely old-fashioned and I hated everything about it. It struck me as a sharp, aldehydic scent, unsentimental in spite of the kitschy advertisments broadcast on German television. I'm convinced that millions of German women weren't at all keen on receiving the obligatory "Tosca gift set" their grumpy husbands selected for them at Christmas. Revisiting the fragrance today, I have to state that I still can't warm up to it. There is nothing pretty about "Tosca". And there is nothing complex or cunning about its formula either, a couple of white flowers against a background of dashes of labdanum and patchouli. I still find it a curiously old-fashioned scent, but not in a good way. Perhaps its attempt at smelling inoffensive is its limitation. Compared to contemporary fruity-florals, vintage "Tosca" might seem quite passable today, but I can't wear it. As for the new reformulated version I'd better keep my mouth shut, "watered-down" would still sound like a compliment.

Traversee du Bosphore L Artisan Parfumeur


Inoffensive, smooth, unobtrusive. I can smell the leathery component which is very light and accompanied by small doses of rose and probably - apple. This does not in the least render the atmosphere of the great Bosporus, nor does this scent evoke any other images of Turkey. The name is not in the least suitable. Nevertheless, it is a pleasant scent, wearable, enjoyable and made from high-quality ingredients. 6 out of 10 ponts on my personal scale

Trésor L'Eau de Parfum Lumineuse by Lancôme


Lancôme's "Trésor" is a classic - one of these powerful florals created by the great Sophia Grojsman in 1990, a peachy rose on a woody and vanillic base with a strong sillage. The latest 2013 flanker called "Eau de parfum Lumineuse" has no sillage at all. It stays very close to the skin. All I get out of it is a musky praliné note with some rosy overtones. The advertising blurp on my sample tells me: "a new olfactory signature created by one of the great Fench masters perfumers, as the fresh and delicious imprint of a kiss". The master perfumer is Dominique Ropion - but this is by no means his new masterpiece. Roja Dove once said, "Never believe the advertising of a perfume. It is always a lie." (Would he exclude his own advertising here?). The new "Trésor Luminuese" is no "new olfactory signature" but an attempt at making "Trésor" more accessible for a younger audience who has been brought up with light, flowery-fruity scents. The praliné note is not in the least new either, it simply adds a gourmandy touch. Perfumers have returned to the "gourmandy rose theme" countless times, but this new attempt is just average. I'd be keen on hearing Sophia Grosjman's opinion on this flanker.

Trésor Midnight Rose by Lancome


Help! Red and purple berries escaped from the chemical lab, united in this bottle... and attack! Should you be able to survive this massive onslaught, you'll be given the usual vanilla-trifle treatment. Who is this aimed at? 5-8 year-olds?

Trouble by Boucheron


Boring, very cheap smell - did not expect anything of that kind from Boucheron. Vanilla in its worst form. Very annoying, because it is so mono-dimensional. No depth. Lasts for hours...flacon is very pretty, though.

Tsukimi by Annayaké


This is like a walk around an exotic, mysterious park in Japan. The air is permeated with the unmistakable smell of cinnamon, musk and cedar. Tsukimi floats a veil of calmness over you. It is soft, sensuous. not over-powering, yet very assertive and a trifle mysterious. A fine companion when you need some peace and rest.

Tubereuse Criminelle by Serge Lutens


This stuff is brutal, especially in the beginning. The start is aggressive, disturbing, unpleasant. Interestingly enough, the heart of the fragrance is not putrid at all, on the contrary. It has rare poetic qualities and is utterly beautiful. Obviously a fascinating structure, made of first rate natural ingredients -and very originial. The strongest tuberose I know. So much better than most of the horrible chemical reproductions of Tuberose. Yet, I would not purchase it - because of the weird start...which is too morbid for me. My daughter said the topnotes made her puke (drastic language, but I guess Serge wouldn't mind).

U II Sheer Scent by Ultima II


A lovely fragrance... you could wrap yourself into it and hide away... or you could just as well seduce someone by wearing it - it is subtle, but very erotic and very warm, skin-like... very personal, flattering. Extremely good!

Un Jardin après la Mousson by HERMES


In his recent book "Journal d'un parfumeur" Ellena wonders why this EdT from the Jardin-Collection flopped. I'm a fan of Monsieuer Ellena and I think he is right about many things he says about the relationship between perfume&art. His fragrances are created in his mind, he "writes perfumes" and is - what a rare case in the industry - an independent artist striving to achieve harmony, simplicity and emotional depth in a fragrance, always leaving some intentional gaps in his creations, gaps the "reader" - in this case the wearer of his perfumes - have to fill for themselves. You might subsequently call him the Wolfgang Iser of perfumes .... With regard to "La Mousson" I personally fill the gap by associating a freshly prepared oriental salad, i.e. the connotations are too foody for me. "Un Jardin apres la Mousson" is good, but the cucumber and cardamon note in it is very special. Give it a try if you like a juxtaposition of watery (cucumber-lemon) vs spicy (cardamon-ginger-pepper) aromas.

Un Jardin Sur Le Toit Hermes


This is rather similar to Un Jardin sur le Nil, but softer and more "rounded". Sorry, folks, but I can't detect any "rotten compost note" in this one. I do not even have the slightest idea of HOW on earth one could compare this lovely scent to "rotten compost". That' the fascinating thing about scents: they are so mysterious - and interpreted differently by every individual. Back to my own interpretation: This is a gorgeous, greenish summer scent with a pale rose and some apple and magnolia interwoven into its structure. Take a walk on the pavement in front of the famous 24, Faubourg in Paris in summer and imagine the joy it would give you to climb the stairs inside of the Hermes House and reach the quiet city garden overlooking Paris... the scent which would greet you upstairs would be calm and well-balanced - just like the one created by Ellena for this edition. I have worn "Sur le Nil" before, but I feel more comfortable and relaxed with "Sur le toit", because it is softer and a touch "warmer". So - please - go and find out for yourselves ... maybe "Sur le toit" happnes to be YOUR summer-scent 2011? It definetely is mine!

Unforgivable Woman by Sean John


This smells similar to Estee Lauder's SENSUOUS fragrance, but has a fruitier touch in the top-note. It is not elegant, but long-lastiing and appealing to the women who are in a sexy and flirtatious mood. It does have a sense of adventure and a very warm touch - I think it is a good perfume given its price. In spite of its pop-culture image you can wear it even if you are not into RAP music...use it for splashy parties, seductive situations - as long as it is not too elegant. It's suitable for anybody.

Valentino classic by Valentino


The Italian perfume par excellence. Wonderful. A good melon top-note, a lovely floral heart and a pleasant slightly woody dry-down. What else do you want from a good fragrance?

Vanille Noire by Yves Rocher


Imitation of "Hypnotic Poison", but with less staying power. Not bad at all. The "Hypnotic Poison Legere" version is quite similar and much more expensive. Nevertheless, I had hoped for something more original, since the other "Secrets d'Essence" Scents are independent creations which stand on their own.

Vanitas Versace


Boring, generic, lacks character. Just another floral in a row of nondescript other boring florals...it's neither unpleasant nor disturbing, neither edgy nor sexy - when does this trend come to an end? Why do people want to smell boring and nondescript? This tendency reminds me of the wonderful fairy-tale entitled "The Emperor's clothes". "What do you smell?" Actually, you don't smell much...but..mind you - IT'S AN ARMANI!!! I mean - ARMANI... or was it GUCCI??? Anyway...it's new, comes in a gorgeous bottle and... - well, you MUST smell something (if the industry wants you to). But why obey them? Why not obey your nose - and be more daring? Why wear "NONDESCRIPT" when you could be wearing a Guerlain... or Lubin... or Villoresi!

Varens Essentiel Musc Provocant


A wonderful musk note, sensual and spicy, smells like a really expensive perfume for the initial 10 minutes - but - alas- after 15 min the joy is all over - the scent is GONE. Price of the 25 ml bottle: 7 Euros. A fleeting, inexpensive pleasure.

Venezia 2011 Laura Biagiotti


Blind buy: Bought it without testing. A huge mistake. This does not bear any resemblance to the original (I still keep a vintage bottle for reference). A rather ordinary fruity-floral. Too nondescript to even bother - if it was not for the impertinence of exploiting a great name and relaunching a perfume leading us - the costumers - "by the nose" - so it seems. At least to me. A clever way of making money - playing with the expectations of the clients and of those who crave the real, old thing and are given this boring and "void" faceless modern perfume instead. One more reason to turn to niche-fragrances. This is a true example of a multi-national giant (Proctor and Gamble - P&G Prestige Beauty) just keen on making money. Sorry, folks! You cheated me, but maybe this review can help others and prevent them from making the same mistake (forking out money for a scent which is no better than Beyoncé, Spears, Aguilera et.al. - only more expensive).

Vers le Jour Worth


The mini-spray of Vers le jour from 2011 is a deplorable screechy and ugly floral with fruity overtones. Not a creation from 1925 in this bottle (part of a set) - but a cheap and unpleasant fragrance I wouldn't even use as a toilet-freshener! Vile!

Vers Toi Worth


Writing about a 10 ml mini-spray of VERS TOI from a five-piece set purchased in 2011: This one is plain awful. Loads of aldehydes in the beginning, a smell of rotten flowers and garden compost in the heart. Not wearable. Don't know about the original composition from 1934, but this relaunch is a total disaster. I don't think this perfume smelled that bad in the 1930's...

Verveine by Fragonard


Very nice Verveine Eau de Cologne. Of course, better in a bottle than on a sachet/wipe. Very refreshing and genuine. Good shower-gel, great pick-me-up scent for mornings when you feel you could sleep on forever.

Very Irrisistible Poésie d'un Parfum d'Hiver by Givenchy


Do I smell a whiff of the good old Organza Indécence in this one? It points into the same direction. Warm, spicy and very well-blended. Opulent, a mixture of sparkle and warmth, rather "sexy", I'd say! For those who love to entice and fascinate - one of the best offerings by Givenchy for a long time.

Viaje a Ceylan by Adolfo Dominguez


This Spanish fragrance is a brainchild of Ramon Monegal whose other creations (for his own brand) I'd call more imaginative than this product he made for Adolfo Dominguez. Neither design nor content are bold, let alone unconventional. "Viaje a Ceylan" is an average spicy-woody-aromatic scent which smells slightly medicinal to me. It emphasises the aroma of cedarwood and doesn't evoke "Ceylon" to me at all. I would have imagined tea leaves, cinnamon...whatever, but what I get is pink pepper, grapefruit and a weird "marine note" which doesn't seem to belong here. It accounts for the clean start of the fragrance - no oriental fantasy, but a whiff of the ordinary "sports fragrance". The scent improves after several minutes and turns into a respectable, extremely conventional, balanced male cologne. "Viaje a Ceylan" is not cloying, it will appeal to the gentleman who hates being "pinned down" and doesn't like his scent to smell seductive or "kinky". Not as colourful as I had imagined.

Vie de Chateau Parfums de Nicolaï


Vie de Chateau sits right between Eau Sauvage and Diorella. It is a lemony chypre with a herbal touch. I love the wonderful start - exhilarating, fresh, simply wonderful, but the drydown is not 100% up my alley... might be due to the herbs used (tarragon, cistus). There's a faint hint of leather, too, but it remains in the background. Given the fact that this is an Eau fraiche, the lasting-power is good (about 3 hs). Not my favourite Patricia de Nicolai scent, but better than many others in the field. 7 out of 10 points on my personal scale.

Voile d'Ambre by Yves Rocher


Not bad at all, given the bargain price and the trend for "amber perfumes". Not the work of a genius, but pleasant and long-lasting. So much better than other "Amber" fragrances which are more expensive and tell the same story for twice the price!

Vol de Nuit by Guerlain


An absolute marvel! Soft, woody, lovely Guerlinade base-note, a perfect fragrance. Very beautiful in fall/winter season. Try the real parfum, much better than the Eau de Toilette which fades away too quickly.

Weekend by Burberry


The topnotes are ultra-pleasant, fresh and green - just gorgeous. I suppose you'd be hard pressed to find anybody who'd dislike them. "Weekend's" heart is flowery, with a touch of peach, but perfumer Nathalie Lorson didn't give us the usual fruity-floral. Instead, she opted for a very beautiful chord which (faintly, very faintly) reminds me of "Beautiful" by Estee Lauder. The flowery notes stretch through to the drydown and remain discreet, but clearly discernable. In my opinion "Weekend's" assets are obvious: it's a very versatile fragrance which will not offend anybody and can be used anywhere, come weekend or office. One of the best offerings by Burberry.

White Linen by Estée Lauder


When I encountered this perfume for the first time in my life, I was a child and hated it on the spot. Never had I come across something so artificial and chemical before. Over the years, I have often tried to revisit this scent, tried to appreciate it, but never quite succeeded. It is a harsh and screachy fragrance - and I will never understand why perfume critics like Turin talk about "rose" in the context of White Linen. To me, this perfume smells of hospitals and chrome. It does not inspire me with any positive feelings at all - one of the perfumes which are as remote from nature (i.e. flowers!) as you can possibly get.

White Musk Intrigue by The Body Shop (discontinued)


Quite nice. A lot of musk, sure, like in the classic White Musk fragrance, but deep down, under all the murmurs of musk and vanilla and amber, this scent is amazingly subtle. It has a soft sensuality and unsnobby aura... unfortunately, it is not very tenacious, but at a price of approx. 10 Euros per 30 ml this can be ignored.

Wild Rose Avril Lavigne


Viva la Juicy in tiny, poor dilution. Save your money and buy the real thing - if it is this kind of smell which intrigues you. I guess the aromachemicals contained in this one are cheaper than the alcohol they used in order to produce this stuff! Production cost probably less than 50 cents! My new washing-up liquid smells better and probably requires the same amount of money to produce...

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Soap&Glory Formula 2


A typical "floriental" with topnotes of bergamot, mandarin and cassis, a floral-ambery mix in the heart and a vanilla-musk drydown. Good for parties, night-outs etc. At Soap&Glory there is a sense of wit and playfulness, which "Formula 2" exudes. It's a young fragrance, but it's not cutesy. There is nothing shy about this oriental floral, it reminds me of the first "Jimmy Choo" or Paco Rabanne's "Black XS for her".

Made for Women Bruno Banani


Another fruity-fruity-fruity ... - honestly, WHO could tell them apart? The decade of the omnipresent fruit-salad is not yet over - even my new hairspray smells of it (no kidding!). This said (and still wondering if the decade is turning into a century.. just imagine: The CENTURY of the fruity-floral...-OMG!)- the new BRUNO BANANI (the name gives it away, doesn't it?) smells okay. Very fruity. Btw- vertigo is right: this one has a pretty poor sillage! Okay, it costs about 8 Euros. (But is this bad news or good news?)

Magie Noire by Lancome


Magie Noire has recently undergone a a major re-formulation, it is no longer the black magic perfume it used to be. The drydown is different from the original formula - it is much softer nowadays and less compelling than it used to be. Yet I still like the fragrance and think that it is very egnimatic and elusive - fantastic on the right woman... has to be kept away from the youngsters. To simpy call it just one of those powerful orientals from the past is to misunderstand its rich complexity. It is not vulgar- and the new formula is not as tenacious as the old one, sadly enough. I like it best on brunettes, but then, this might be an old-fashioned attitude to scent.

Magnifique by Lancome


"You are unique-you are magnifique"- what a boring slogan- and the scent is almost as boring as the advertisment. A nicely crafted fragrance, drawing on the experience of the best selling Trésor, with just a bit more "omph", a modernized version of the peachy super-seller. I can't smell much of the saffron - has anybody tried L'artisan Parfumeur's excellent "Safran troublant" - there you've got saffron, real saffron - but Magnifique is very artficial, a boring main-stream perfume. Even the bottle is devoid of any innovative beauty. Disappointing.

Magot by Etro


I guess people in the famous Parisian café´"Aux deux magots" would think you'd just poured the WC-desinfectant over yourself if you entered the place smelling of this incredibly screechy, dismal creation by Etro. There's so much unpleasantness in this one contained for me that I'd rather not go on writing about it. Suppose you're ready to spend loads of cash on a scent which is worse than most of the average drugstore perfumes (say "Kate Moss" or "Halle Berry") - then MAGOT is the one for you.

Ma griffe by Carven


Launched in 1946 this fragrance was a real success in the 5o's, but seems to have fallen into oblivion nowadays. I see it as an older sister of Miss Dior. Using very sharp green wood notes, this stuff is extremely fresh, even a trifle biting, but very original. The background of white flowers and greenery is ever-present in Ma Griffe, it is a perfume for all seasons and for all age groups, elegant and certainly very retro. Chansons by Charles Trenet come to my mind, the Quartier Latin in the morning...a truly "parfum parisien" which should not be forgotte

Maharani Intense by Parfums de Nicolai


Very strong, pungent top-notes of orange and galbanum. A short, loud blast. When when the topnotes vanish, a spicy heart consisting mainly of cloves and artificial) civet which smells a bit like cumin plus a somewhat herbaceous aspect (lavender) come to the fore. I've tried very hard to love "Maharanih Intense", I've tried to convince myself of "Maharani's" originality. Yes, I told myself that its rare distribution, its utter "niche-ness" should be another asset. But the heart of this interesting oriental smells like the content of my cupboard of Indian spices mixed with a light and powdery rose plus a bit of carnation. The drydown is too strong on the civet for my taste, "amber" is hardly there and I still don't feel comfortable. In the end, a touch of sandalwood prevents "Maharanih Intense" from smelling like having spent a night surrounded by fumes from an Indian kitchen. To me, one of Patricia de Nicolai's weirdest perfumes.

Manifesto L'Eclat by Yves Saint Laurent


I can't relate to the notes listed by YSL/L'Oréal. Green tea, bergamot, neroli, black currant bud? Not really. Jasmine, freesia, rose, orange blossom? Sorry, I can't tell those aromachemicals apart. What I can smell is a very strong vanilla-toffee note, tonka bean, artificial sandalwood and cashmeran. Basically the structure of the regular "Manifesto". Those top-notes of green tea, bergamote etc. vanish after two minutes and the "flowers" are an artificial mess. On the other hand, "Manifesto Eclat" is easier to stomach than the forerunners ("Manifesto EdP" and "Manifesto Intense"), it is meant to be worn/sold in spring/summer, hence the lighter top-notes. I'm not a fan of this vanilla-caramel concoction, wearing it feels like being wrapped into a sweet, calorie-rich vanilla-dessert all day long (longevity is very good). Today I talked to a woman who adores "Manifesto" and who grabbed the new "Eclat" from the counter right away. It's her signature scent and she loves its "cosy, warm feel". She also told me that she receives tons of compliments when wearing "Manifesto". Lucky woman. Well, I never tell people when I dislike their fragrance. Do you?

Mare Nostrum- Aura Mris von Villoresi


One night, I had a dream - and I remember, it was something about a fragrance. I was told that I uttered something in my sleep which went "Make me a perfume that smells like the sea!" - so my darling husband suggested that I should spend the next day dipping my nose into the latest creations of the lauded and legendary niche-houses available in one of my favourite perfume stores. I tested quite a lot of fragrances (many niches and some mainstreams), but nothing could capure my heart as much as "Mare Nostrum", an exquisite scent which seems to be born of Villoresi's passion for perfume coupled with his gorgeous imagination. This scent feels very natural and avoids all things sweet, sugar and fruity. Instead, there is a play between a citrus burst with mandarin and lemon and a mysterious woody chord which feels like a soft breeze from the sea. No calone used here in order to evoke the acquatic atmosphere, the whole things remains transparent and soft. The scent trails off beautifully, with musk and woody notes. And it's long-lasting. This is one of the best Villoresi-scents which is sure to find a lot of devotees, me included. My dream has come true!

Maroussia by Slava Saitzev


This is a sumptuous, ultra-heady affair. It does not overpower you completely, but develops into a warm and flirtatious scent, very feminine and quite original. Wear it afternoon to evening - and never in hot climate. Given the fact that it is rather cheap, you might be tempted to spray on more than is necessary, so be careful with it - and get some of the nice body products instead (very good shower gel and body lotion). The staying power is very good indeed. I would compare it to Tschaikovsky's violin concerto, because Maroussia has a kind of orchestral, shiny touch with a good folk tune artfully intertwined into its sophisticated composition.

Mazzolari Lei by Mazzolari


The Italian version of Shalimar, coming from the House of Mazzolari in Milano. Real vanilla, fresh citrus and aromatic herbes are mixed together in order to create a strong oriental which is very accessible in spite of its heavy ingredients. An easy-going, smiling oriental, although I have smelled better versions of the genre coming from Italy (by Moschino or Nasomatto, to name just a few).

Miss Balmain


A rather strong, very cool fragrance which goes into the direction of Azurée by Estée Lauder, very sharp, "poignant", dry and leathery. Very elegant and tres parisien. Gorgeous on a man, too. Thus - the title is really misleading!

Mitsouko by Guerlain


It used to be a great unisex scent - Serge Diaghiljev's favourite - and is considered harmonious, achieving a perfect equilibrium. To me, Mitsouko opens with bergamotte, followed by the famous peach note which was the reason for attributing it to the chypre fruité family (like Femme de Rochas, Diorella and Y... gosh, all of them my top-favourites... I am clearly a fruity chypre type). The "peach" was achieved by using the aldehyde C.14 discovered by the Russian chemists Jukov and Schestakow - and I think this is the component which gives a certain lightness and lift to the composition. What seems to join the peach is oakmoss, of course (my bottles is Eau de Parfum pre-reformulation) and vetiver. I can also smell some lilac and a woody base, something normally rendered by the word "amber". The formula is often called simple and nevertheless it seems unsurpassed. Which effect does it have on me? I love the contrast between peach and oakmoss, but also the base of the perfume, which smells like good perfume should smell... - if you know what I mean. Mitsouko is a "perfumy" perfume, an archetype - it is simple and mysterious at the same time. The name itself (mystery in Japanse) sums it all up for me: Mitsouko is a scent I cannot take apart, all the notes combine to a gorgeous harmony. The scent is composed like music: it has its own rhythm and its own melody, both essential to the overall effect. Mitsouko has been my faithful companion for more than twelve years now and was my second "Guerlain love" after Jardins de Bagatelle and Champs d'Elysées ("modern" Guerlains nowadays often criticized as loud and vulgar). I never heard any negative comment on Mitsouko when I wore it and it is a perfume which always makes me feel confident. It is ageless and it is perfect. One of the best perfumes on the planet.

Mon nom est rouge by Madja Bekkali


"Mon nom est rouge" is a very complex, rather special composition. Perfumer Cécile Zarokian created a powerful and persistent fragrance which starts like a volcanic eruption (pepper, lemon, aldehydes, elemi, metallic notes). Characterized as a "spiced rose" by Madja Bekkali herself, I find it hard to call this a rose-scent at all. Yes, there is some rose in it, but I'm incapable of detecting the "rose with a velvety sensation", which Bekkali promised in an interview. I smell a huge amount of cardamom, cumin and cinnamon. In an impossible attempt to soften those spices, frankincense, sandalwood, tonka bean and patchouli are brought into play and contribute to the bold and assertive aura of this fragrance. "Mon nom est rouge" is very opulent with the rose in the background and the precious caradom-frankincense-cumin-combo centre-stage. It carries on the grand oriental tradition of spicy, deep and intense perfumes and it is loaded with mysterious overtones. Piquant flashes of cumin keep coming up for hours and hours, while the other association I had when wearing this scent was indeed a "metallic taste of blood" also mentioned by Bekkali. (Those who know the fragrance "Bull's Blood" from the "Imaginary Author's" series might compare those two fragrances and detect some parallels). "Mon nom est rouge" blooms best at night when your own warm blood stirs the spicy-metallic ingredients, resulting in a disturbing kind of intoxication. This stuff might add a touch of sorcery to your fragrance-wardrobe.

My Africa Krizia


Strong ginger top-notes, and the ginger lingers on in the heart, but then gives way to a spicy-creamy mixture very much in the style of Montana "Just Me". I'd strongly recommend "My Africa" as an alternative to the Montana-scent. Excellent staying-power.

Musc Maori 04 by Parfumerie Générale


Chocolate is the key-word here! The scent develops into a very thin, feeble musky whisper after five minutes. Luten's Borneo 1834 is a much better take at a chocolate fragrance ... just to cite a comparison. And why Maori? Where's the connection to New Zealand? I can't detect any. Patisserie 0815 would have been a more suitable name for this scent, which I find monothematic and dull.

Mystere by Novaya Zarya


"Taina" or "Mystere" by the Russian company Novaya Zarya is rather similar to the classic Fendi which disappeared from the shelves some years ago. Very spicy, oriental, rich and expressive. Some Russian friends of mine perceive a certain similiarity to "Opium" by YSL in this perfume, but in my opinion it is closer to Fendi. Anyway, I guess you get the idea. Don't miss it when you're in Russia, it's a real bargain.

Naughty Alice by Vivienne Westwood


Not in the least naughty. A very shy, unspectacular vanilla-scent. Powdery, light. Poor staying-power. Another generic scent. Nowadays only the various perfume bottles help to tell the scents apart. I guess the big firms like Coty and l'Oréal spend more money on the design of the vessels than on the perfumes themselves. A very sad trend.

Neonatura Cocoon Yves Rocher


I was looking for a perfume with a strong patchouli note - and ended up buying this fragrance because it is nice and inexpensive. It is not the kind of high-powered, emphatic stuff you might expect from the list of ingredients. This scent does not boast anything sensational in its formulation, it is simplistic and cosy. I think it is very wearable and is a welcome respite from the dynamics of some trendier perfumes, which is the reason why men turn around in delight when you walk by smelling of it. Doesn't last long, though, but the bottle is very handy and slips into yor handbag easily.

New Tradition by Etro


This is a discovery...- a skimmed-down,slim version of Aromatics Elixier, lighter than the great American stunner, yet strong enough to impart you with a great presence. Very good alternative for those who like Aromatics, but find it overpowering.

Ninfeo Mio by A. Goutal


The very pronounced citrussy top-notes evaporate quickly, giving way to a green, rather "aloof" kind of Eau de Toilette slightly reminiscent of Ellena's wonderful "Un Jardin sur le Nil" which is much nicer, by the way. Ninféo Mio progresses from the high-pitched top-notes to woody, green and dark shades, thus avoiding the monotony many modern fragrances have come up with recently. This aspect alone makes it superior to many common Eaux on the market. Ninféo Mio is perfect on a hot summer day, the dry-down leaves a masculine touch on my skin. Staying power is excellent. You can smell the drydown for days in your clothes. There's some ingredient in it which I don't like at all.

Nino Cerruti pour femme (1987)


A sensual and elegant fruity chypre, sadly discontinued. Head notes include mandarine, peach, spicy cardamon and the osmanthus-flower from China. The heart consists of a flowery bouquet: ylang-ylang, tubéreuse, jasmin, iris,jacinthe and a touch of rose. In the gorgeous chypre-drydown there's some genuine oakmoss, paired with sandalwood and patchouly. This combination of flowers on a chypre-base smells lush and extravagant. It's probably Nino Cerruti's best perfume, unfortunately such fragrances can't be found on the mainstream-market anymore.

No. 1 Extreme by Aus Liebe zum Duft/Germany


Here we enter the darker land of ambery fragrances, a labyrinth of sickly sweet vanilla mixed with hints of tea, cedarwood, benzoin and leather. While the topnotes are rather appealing, strong concentrations of vanilla and benzoin in the base and the heart spoil the fragrance for me. It's overpowering in its attempt at taming the spicy topnotes by adding amber, and amber and amber again. Unfortunately, I can't pick up much of the leathery aspect other reviewers emphasized. Of course I know this fragrance is marketed as "provocative", and I normally like outspoken scent. But "No. 1 Extreme" is too sweet for me, the leather is not as haunting or smoky as I had hoped for and the entire composition is cloying and rather unimaginative. A disappointment.

Noa Summer Edition 2012


A lovely, young and lively scent, a bit of a flirt - disarmingly charming. The beautiful original Noa-fragrance shines through after half an hour, first, the refreshing top-notes, the zestiness of mandarin and lemon, the softness of frangipani amuse the senses. "Noa Summer" shines with light - that's why the colour of the bottle is so fitting. "Think orange" and you can imagine the scent of "Noa Summer". It's Noa's tribute to vitality and youthfulness - a sunny summer day in a bottle.

Nocturnes de Caron


Nocturne is a very classical fragrance, powdery and flowery, elegant and sophisticated. Although it was created in the 80s, it is not a loud fragrance and far from beeing vulgar. And fortunately enough, it has not yet been re-formulated - like many of the old Caron classics, which have undergone changes which make me cry. Nocturnes is still there, not really exciting, but pleasant.

Norell by Norell


Norell is probably not what you'd expect from a 60's fragrance. It is neither reminiscent of "Y" by St. Laurent nor of Eau Sauvage, and yet it could pass as a fine male fragrance nowadays. It does not possess any seductive powers, but uses sophistication and style as its weapons. It stands for a very elegant and refined pleasure - and I would not call it a floral, by the way, but a chypre...Norell has an earthy greenness that accents all the flowers which it might include, but which are very abstract in the composition. It is a truly elegant perfume, created for confident and cool women, it is not cloying or heavy but just reassuringly enveloping - a very clever perfume choice.

Now by Azzaro


This is a very modern perfume, full of good ideas, so much better than the usual fruit-salad type, because it combines freshness with floral, warmer notes. Very innovative approach, original bottle. It is a quality perfume worth your attention!

Nuda by Il Profumo


Is a musky skin-scent, the idea - of course - is old-fashioned, but the construction of this fragrance is innovative. A fresh, hay-like top-note mixed with musky and powdery overtones. The result of this construction is a quiet and discreet perfume which mingles with your own body-odour producing a very natural effect. I find it totally "harmless" and devoid of the sexual connotations intended by its name and the blurp of the press-material ("natural pheromones" "seduction"). A rather unobtrusive musk - can be worn anytime/anywhere. It is really pleasant and I even consider buying a second bottle of it.

Nuit by Christian Lacroix


Synthetic musks are the key element of fabric softeners and some of the new variants I smelled recently seem to resemble "Nuit" by Christian Lacroix. "Night" consists of an accord of strong florals (jasmine, tuberose) which is tamed by amber and musk, a lighter, less complicated "Alien", but not distinctive enough to compete with the famous bestseller. As the topic of a strong floriental for the "night out" = "NUIT" is something perfumers have returned to time and again for nearly 20 years now, you need to be extremely inventive in order to come up with something less generic than this average scent by Avon/Lacroix. "Nuit" is no special achievement. Btw, staying power is excellent, this fragrance lasts and lasts (like many other Avon scents I tried).

Nuit de Cellophane by Serge Lutens


Suprising...the entire creation is so utterly unlike Serge Lutens... not at all typical of him. Some very rare floral notes (Chinese osmathus, first of all) are combined with an equally exquisite profusion of musky tonalities. The entire creations is rather unique and has a very particular loveliness to it. It is very refined and discreet, but in fact, I find it so delicious that I could imagine flavouring my next home-made ice-cream with it. Of course, the name is weird..."cellophane"...conjurs up images of yesterday's salad in the fridge covered in cellophane... I personally don't connect anything romantic to the material at all. I imagine that Lutens wanted the name to emphazise the quality of this perfume you can wrap yourself in without feeling overpowered. It is just a light veil, not to be worn in broad daylight, but perfect from dusk till dawn. It is quiet and subtle, with a good drydown sending out signals of warmth and feminine sensuality. An unforgettable fade-out to a particularly beautiful creation.

Onyx Pearl by Agonist


What a beautiful perfume vessel! For 880 Euros it'll be yours. 880! Unfortunately, it houses one of the worst "niche" scents I ever encountered. Harsh, bitter und biting. The lavendin-lemon-combo is slightly reminiscent of cheap hotel soap, the green tea in the heart is too strong and herbaceous against the background of myrrh. The fragrance doesn't change much, after two hours it's still as unpleasant to my nose as in the beginning and must be scrubbed off. This scent is blessed with one quality only: A beautiful flacon. Forget about the rest.

Opus I by Amouage


Cumin is a spice I can't stand, neither in my food nor in a scent, of course. Amouage Opus I is exquisite in the beginning, but morphs into a very obnoxious curry-like concoction after 20 min - at least on my skin. The fragrance lacks balance and beauty. There are so many scents which are not as expensive as Opus I - and smell so much better...

Or des Scythes


I have a vintage version of this gem - a perfume bottle from the 1980's ... this is not a knock-off of "Chanel 19" – as I read somewhere in another review - but a creation which I consider unique. "Or des Scythes" is a well-constructed strong floral scent, partly carnation and jasmine, partly dry wood. It is radiant,elegant, multi-faceted and has a kind of resinous splendour in the drydown. Admirable.

Otto Kern Woman


Otto Kern This is a knock-off of Gaultier's Classic fragrance (the one with the female torso) - and therefore, not bad at all (I really like Gaultier Classique EdP)! Staying power is okay (4 hs) given the low price of 10 Euros per 30 ml bottle. Recommended!

Paisley by Etro


The Paisley pattern has always been one of Etro's favourite designs and the fragrance is supposed to pay homage to the brand's heritage. "Paisley EdP" from 2011 features pink pepper and cardamon and retains these two elements all the way up to the drydown. "Eastern" influences are further heightened by a dry, greenish jasmine. In the drydown, a touch of patchouli and something the manufacturer calls "grey ambregris" round off the composition. Long after I had applied "Paisley" I could smell the pink pepper-cardamon-combo synthesised with jasmine. This is a biting scent which has no grand seduction in mind (paisley is actually a symbol of fertility). The strong accent on pink peper and cardamon underpinned by jasmine and the "grey substance" used in the drydown ("grey ambregris", I bet it's 100% synthetic) turn this into a sharp, dry fragrance which I don't enjoy.

Pani Walewska Classic Eau de Parfum by Miraculum


In July 1924, physician Leon Luster founds a firm he calls "Doctor Luster's Miraculum Cosmetic and Medicinal Preparations", with premises on Józefitów street in Kraków. In the 1970's, Miraculum is Poland's leading cosmetic brand and launches the well-known and highly regarded perfume "Pani Walewska" (for women) and the classic Polish after-shave "Brutal". In 1989, the privatization of the Miraculum factory follows during a time of economic transformation and gradual market liberalization in Poland. Today, Miraculum operates in the domestic and foreign markets, exporting its products to approximately 20 countries worldwide, including Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, and Germany. I have a great respect for "Pani Walewska", since a Polish friend of mine gave me this perfume a few years ago for my birthday. He thought the pretty bottle of cobalt-blue colour would make a nice object for my collection, but with Pani W, it's not a "flacon only thing". The perfume itself is interesting. Three flowers dominate the composition: lilly-of-the valley, rose and jasmine. Together with some radiant aldehydes, vetyver and carnation they merge into the characteristic smell immediately recognisable as the great "Madame Waleska". I guess there is some oakmoss in the base, which adds to the effect of a "powerhouse scent". I was a bit scared of "Pani Walewska" when I tried it for the first time, it detonated like a soapy flower-bomb...but after the initial shock and after several wearings I found it surprisingly "well-behaved". This is not a "nice" perfume, not determined to please everybody, but a vivid green floral with great lasting powers. Additional body-products, creams&lotions all smell of "Pani Walewska"; the entire range is very affordable.

Paris by YSL


One of the huge, classic, 80's rose scents - created by S. Grosjman -one of my favourite perfumers. Most of her perfumes are wonderful compositions. Paris evokes the memories of a summer afternoon in a rose garden, holding hands with your 25 years-old lover promising you romance and adventure. Paris makes you feel like a young woman...delicate, but strong enough to conquer the world.

Parisienne by YSL


Urban and bold aromas are not to be found in this creation - lacking boldness from its topnotes to its drydown. It is a very pleasant fragrance with a delightful rosy-red opening lasting for about 60 seconds. The sweet aroma of flowers (roses in the first place) is discernible in the fragrance's heart, too, but nothing in this composition transcends the usual clichés... and wearing it, you will be reminded of the good old Paris by Sophia Grojsman in feeble dilution. This fragrance is very quiet, seems to be designed as an easy crowd-pleaser and would be ideal for all those who want a very discreet, fine, flowery scent. The drydown accord is totally banal. What I miss in this fragrance is a) originality and b) intensity. Nevertheless, very wearable and probably a huge success in the future.

Parlez-moi d'amour by John Galliano


Well, another fruity-floral, with an accent on berries (blue ones, for a change). Just another disappointing scent in a cute bottle and sweet packaging. It's an easy crowd-pleaser, nice for spring, won't offend anyone - but haven't we smelled this before? I'm bored stiff by those endless repetitions of the same olfactory tune. Would have expected a bit more courage from John Galliano. His first fragrance was a commercial flop, but much more interesting. He (and the company behind him) want to play it safe now (a bit difficult, in view of the fact that Mr Galliano tends to misbehave in public).

Pashmina Patchouli by Dr. Taffi


A straightforward patchouli, warm and spicy, a scent which wraps you like a soft pashima shawl. Headnotes of incense merge with the characteristic scent of earthy patchouli mixed with a touch of amber and musk. Very good staying power included. As to the bottle - it is very basic and doesn't warm my collector's heart at all, but so what. Dr. Taffi is an Italian brand which I recently discovered in a pharmacy. Fragrances are reasonnably priced and not tested on animals.

Patchouli Noir by Il Profumo


This is the Patchouli I had been looking for for ages - it manages to triumph over all other patchouli fragarnces because of its earthy, woody feel. An autumnal and very authentic perfume, constructed like a walk in a deep Indian forest. Its sillage is unique, magic and unforgettable. Long-lasting and very rich!

 Patou For Ever by Jean Patou


For the first time a Patou fragrance opts for the irresistible sweetness of a fruity accord: pineapple, raseberry, melon - which give the perfume a fresh and contemporary note (why did they discontinue it???). The midde-notes consist of an opulent harmony of rose and lilly of the valley. The radiance of this wonderful perfume is prolongued by muted woody aspects of sandalwood, iris and violet. Wearing this, I feel adorned with a"silky aura" - and the sillage is truly enchanting.

Pierre de Velay Parfum Extrait No. 11


This is a rare juice which is only sold at Roja Dove's "Haute Parfumerie" in London (Harrods/5th floor). The perfumery itself and the shopping-experience there are unique. I daresay that Roja's "Haute Parfumerie" is the most exclusive place to shop for perfumes in Europe. Should you happen to visit Harrods, don't miss it. I spent two incredibly fascinating hours there in October 2011 – culminating in my purchase of Pierre de Velay No. 11. This perfume was designed according to a "recipe" hidden in some old dash-book from the 1920's. Perfumer P. de Velay jotted down some ideas which Roja Dove carried out in a glorious manner. No. 11 is an intoxicating blend of lavish flowers, first and foremost, Grasse jasmine. Since it is a chypre, the jasmine and the obvious rose in this scent are underlined by oakmoss and patchouli. No. 11 entices you with brilliant many-faceted clarity and elegance, although the drydown is a bit "animalic", you can still smell the indolic jasmine which gives it a tantalising mysterious undertone. The first whiff of this scent will carry you away from the hackneyed path of mainstream perfumery into a territory of old world charm and grace. The formulation of No. 11 is no world-shaker, i.e. not innovative, but wonderfully retro (just like the stylish retro-design of the flacon). I adore this scent for its style and finesse and recommend it to those who love to cloak themselves in discreetly beguiling chic.

"Place Vendôme" EdT by Boucheron


A long time ago in a perfumed galaxy distant to ours, those bottles which were beautiful enough and a bit more ambitious than your average Joe, were lucky winners. They (i.e. their contents) could while away the hours snuggling up to an attractive lady's bosom, probably somewhere between Place Vendôme and Rue de la Paix. They were neither called mainstream nor niche perfumes, they were just "parfums". Today, most perfumes are anything but happy. In fact they are a miserable bunch. The root cause of their problems is of course the tin-pot notion that everyone should own several "modern" perfumes which means that the average perfume bottle (and its contents!) become suprisingly common. Upon smelling "Place Vendôme" I could spend hours bemoaning the loss of quality (and even lifestyle) this average scent is an example of - but this would be nearly as pointless as being unable to accept that flip-flops are not a suitable form of footwear for the office. Modern orange blossom-honey-jasmine-artificial-cedarwood-fragrances deserve our sympathy and should be hugged. I mean, it's our duty to feel sorry for them. Especially when they are called "Place Vendôme" and smell like "Place Partout" or "Passe Partout".

Platinum by La Prairie


A wonderful, wonderful fragrance - a modern re-incarnation of Jolie Madame. Classy, elegant. The best scent ever released by La Prarie (a brand I normally don't recommend when it comes to perfumes). But Platinum is a proof of the fact that miracles can happen...- a new interpretation of an old theme, a genuine "modern classic". Very beautiful perfume-atomizer. Average staying-power.

Potion for Women by Dsquared


On the cardboard-wrapping of my sample, perfumer Christine Nagel "disclosed" her recipe for this fragrance. Top notes: 2 bergamot peels, 3 fresh wild blackberries, 1 pinch of violet Heart: 7 dewy rose petals, 3 jasmine flowers, 2 buds of lily of the valley, 1 drop of rhubarb Base: 3 ½ cups of black and white musk, 2 dashes of black amber, 1 patchouli leaf, 1 ½ shells of golden vanilla "A new recipe of olfactory seduction" - well, I was very curious to try this one. It turns out to be a very well-behaved, pleasant skin-scent with moderate sillage and no particular seductive powers whatsoever. Of course the recipe so kindly disclosed by the manufacturer is ridiculous - who would be such a fool to give away the tricks of the trade? Roses and jasmine are hardly discernable in this fragrance, which turns very musky on my skin (well, Nagel used "three and a half cups of black and white musk" - more than anything else, it's the dominant ingredient!) "Postion" is an unobtrusive, slightly fruity and very light musky oriental, perfectly acceptable but neither interesting nor unique let alone outstanding. I used to admire Christine Nagel a lot, she's the author of great and truly original perfumes (e.g. Theorema by Fendi, Mauboussin, Miss Dior Chérie 2005, Si Lolita - ...) but her new "Potion" is nothing I'd want to call my own.

Pretty Fruity by Montale


Montale just do everything. Aouds, Musks... and in 2011 - why the delay - one might ask - a strong, utterly screechy fruity-floral (berries, pink fruit, passion fruit...). Some natural berries smell great by themselves, and so does passion fruit - but in "Pretty fruity" they all end up smelling sweaty and pretty disgusting. This Escada-copy must have been easy to compose: Montale simply used every fruity aromachemical available on the market and overdosed it. The result is a fruity fragrance which smells incredibly artificial. It also has tremendous staying-power. What woman/man is tasteless enough to want to smell like a basket of semi-deteriorated berries with a vile sweaty passion-fruit-note lurking through? Sorry about the rant, but this is another expensive (!!!) nauseating Montale which smells hilariously cheap. Not a fine fragrance - and not a niche, either.

Private Collection Jasmine White Moss


A modern version of Diorella, or - should I say Eau Sauvage? There's no doubt about the overall theme here - white flowers in the background, helional, of course - and the "modern chypre" ingredients. What I love about it is it's freshness and staying-power, the greenery is present through to the final lingering notes. It's the sort of self-assured MODERN green perfume I like and have been looking for for ages. Tenacious, honest and uncomplicated, though not very "innovative". I prefer it to many recent expensive "niche fragrances" of over-cultivated sophistication.

Profumo by Aqua di Parma


The 2008 version which I bought today is wonderful...I had been looking for a fragrance which could be worn as an alternative to Misouko - and this is the one. Very soft, a chypre in cosy colours, no harsh notes, just a lovely, envelopping veil of easy plushness. Profumo is neither loud nor ultra-innovative. I fell in love with it and think it is very versatile and elegant. My husband is delighted with it, too.

Pure DKNY Verbena


A scent for those who aren't "into perfume". It's indredibly light and you won't notice much of it after 15 min. When you spray it on, it procures a nice feeling of having taken an invigorating and uplifting shower. The verbena-aspect is very subdued and the whole thing is utterly low-key. Probably a waste of money, but then again, it's a safe choice for those who are afraid of genuine, full-blooded fragrances. There seems to be an audience for this kind of stuff.

Pure Orchid by Halle Berry


"Pure Orchid" doesn't smell like "pure orchid" - or my idea of it - it has nothing to do with a full-blown orchid and its hypnotic grace and charm. Halle Berry's version is a cheap and dull attempt at an orchid-scent with some nondescript flowers and fruit in a coarse formulation. But maybe "Pure Orchid" is really only for the under thirties and I just don't get this one.

Quizas, Quizas by Loewe


It's a real stunner. A dazzling, sensual and explosive smell. Unstopper the bottle and you are hit with a powerful profusion of smouldering flowers, above all rose,jasmin and ylang-ylang. It creates a very torrid impression which is further heightened with musk and patchouli. Balanced off with some aldehydes I cannot describe, the perfume gets its characteristic veneer and finally becomes very harmonious. It has a strong energy with a touch of mischief at the edges, and I think it is a good choice for those who want to have something special not worn by everybody. Absolutely cool when combined with rich purple, violet, crimson clothes etc. - no good on a hot summer night, but perfect in winter when it glows like a purple gem.

Reverie au jardin by Andy Tauer


Can't share much of the enthusiasm expressed in other reviews on the internet etc. - although I would have loved to join in... since I am an ardent lover of lavender. This is a decent interpretation of lavender in midst of a field of greenery, but I had very high expectations - and Reverie au Jardin can't meet them. Maybe I'm anosmic to this scent? It's just soft, greenish and pale on my skin - nothing to write home about at all, unobtrusive.

Rive Gauche by YSL


There is only one negative things I can say about this fragrance, I can smell a very unpleasant top note which reminds me of sour cucumber and vinegar, but when this one is gone, Rive Gauche becomes an abstract rose perfume which I quite like. I love the Haute Couture name of the perfume, its metal bottle and the timeless elegance of the composition which is still very good, in spite of the top note and the reformulation.

Roberto Cavalli Exotica (2014)


Okay, the first Cavalli from this series was released in 2012. It was followed by Cavalli Acqua (blue bottle, what else? ) in 2013, by Cavalli Nero Assoluto (2013) and Cavalli Oud (2013). Enter the latest flanker (2014!), now wrapped in in pink: "Exotica". What's exotic about it? No surprises here: the topnotes greet us with the usual fruit-salad combo, artificial mango dominates. Yawn. Frangipani was added for all those who picture themselves on a beach in Thailand...So much about the so-called "exotica". Mango and frangipani vanish in about three minutes. What are you left with? The "regular" Roberto Cavalli, of course, the one you probably know from year 2012. If you love that particular Cavalli from 2012, you might also enjoy this summery, fruitier version. I mean, it's a fairly pleasing, synthetic mainstream-fragrance - and this particular hue of pink seems to be the key-shade for the 2014 summer season. So why not colour-coordinate your handbag and your perfume? Add some pink nail-polish... and you really do something to keep the economy going.

Rock 'n Rose Couture by Valentino


This is so harmless. It is nice and well-behaved. The ad doesn't fit at all. It is a pleasant flowery fragrance for young girls who don't dare and who can't even dance let alone ROCK and ROLL.

Rose by Miraculum


This is a fresh rose-scent with lots of sparkle done in the style of "Trésor in Love". Freesias, lilies and roses unite in a rather delicate and "crystalline" way. A dash of magnolia, jasmine, peach and ginger can be felt in the heart and a clear base completes this pretty scent which fills the gap between the traditional elegance and soapiness of "Pani Walewska" and the scrubbed-clean simpicity of "Cool Blue" by the same company (Miraculum).

Rose Absolue by Yves Rocher


Suprisingly good rose fragrances - lovely mixture of two absolues at a very low price, very good alternative to Annick Gotal's Rose Absolue or to Lutens' Sa majeste la rose...

Rose Oud by Parfums de Nicolai


Oud is ubiquitious. Everybody does one, two, three... countless oud-scents continue to swamp the market. But here is the good news: Patricia de Nicolai's new "Rose Oud" scent is not your usual rose-oud combo in the style of Montale etc. It's very subtle and refined, a fragrance which keeps the strong agarwood at bay. Patricia de Nicolai used a gorgeous, fabulous, magnificent rose, a rose at the same time velvety and fruity, a rose which is perfect. Fortunately, its beauty is enhanced by the oud used, an agarwood which is not as strong as I expected. Here it seems to melt into a fine woody-transparent veil in the background. Osmanthus and an exotic green plant called "nagarmotha" further contribute to the flowery and powdery-soft character of this beautiful perfume, which is the most civilized, most wearable rose-scent I've encountered in this over-crowded territory so far. Highly recommended.

Rose Velours Collection Extraordinaire by Van Cleef&Arpels


Van Cleef & Arpels launched "Rose Velours" as part of their "Collection Extraordinaire" in 2013. Just another rose-scent? Yes, but a very good one. So if you dislike rose-perfumes, don't bother to read on. "Rose Velour" wears its heart on its sleeve, it is very pretty indeed and the opulent rose with its notes of honey, accompanied by benzoin and iris, is always centre-stage. Maisondieu redefines the contemporary stance on the ultra-popular rose: no frills, no glitter, but an intelligent approach to the queen of flowers based on quality ingredients. There is nothing complex about "Rose Velour", yet it seems to artfully blend what belongs together: finest rose absolute with cedarwood and benzoin notes, resulting in a lush, velvety soft and long-lasting perfume. "Rose velour" is a fragrance that is determined to please rose-lovers - and perhaps this very intention is its limitation. But then again, I guess the audience it was composed for are not complaining.

Rosée de Nuit by Friedemodin


If you are fed up with high-powered oriental aoud-fragrances, dark incense-perfumes and everything "black" in recent perfumery, then breathe a deep sigh of relief, because Friedemodin (bless them!) have created a range of good old-fashioned "English" fragrances with a very modern twist. The German-Swedish creators are London-based and took their first inspiration from the delicious smell of a Chealsea flower shop, an olfactory experience they wanted to recreate. Perfumer Francois Robert (yes, he is Guy Robert's son) helped them with their perfumes which can be combined ("Combination Perfumery" - as done before by Jo Malone) for fascinating individual effects. "Rosée de Nuit" ("Dew of the night") is a quiet, very wearable scent. Extremely well constructed (I love the cardamon and bergamot start), it wraps you in an air of sensuousness with cool violet and a warm flow of woody notes (sandalwood, patchouli, teakwood). As the basenotes take over, the various woods become rather powdery like a soft whisper. "Rosée de Nuit" is smooth and beautiful, very tranquil. No drama, nothing daringly different, but a dewy harmony that appeals to me in its languor. It seems ideal for mysterious twilights and intimate encounters, a very fine companion for autumn.

Rouge by Hermes


Totally overrated. A strange mixture with no direction. Don't think of this as "Rouge", think Bleak House... or any other title of an industrial novel by Charles Dickens. No energy in this bottle.

Royal Bain de Champagne by Caron


This used to be one of the most beautiful perfumes on the planet, but has been reformulated - and is a shadow of what it used to be. Nevertheless, it has a charming, powdery touch to it, and the topnotes still speak of champagne and sparkle in the rain... So much better than "Flower" by Kenzo which copied its structure.

Rumeur by Lanvin


Terrible. Magnolia top-note, then it develops into a biting stench. Very similar to Ange or Démon by Givinchy (just as bad).

Safran Troublant by L'Artisan Parfumeur


Great scent ... just one drawback to the wonderful perfume: VERY poor staying power. It is gone within no time (say... within 15 min). So deplorable in such a great fragrance. A very fleeting pleasure. And mind you...it is very "foody" - like a Persian desert prepared with rose water and saffron. You have to be in the right mood for it - certainly not a perfume for everyday-wear.

Safran Troublant by L'Artisan Parfumeur


Great scent ... just one drawback to the wonderful perfume: VERY poor staying power. It is gone within no time (say... within 15 min). So deplorable in such a great fragrance. A very fleeting pleasure. And mind you...it is very "foody" - like a Persian desert prepared with rose water and saffron. You have to be in the right mood for it - certainly not a perfume for everyday-wear.

Saharienne Yves Saint Laurent


Nothing experimental about this one. A fresh, citrussy summer scent, pleasant, but devoid of any surprises. Just average. We've all smelled this before a hundred times and more. I don't have the faintest idea why on earth YSL would come up with such a nondescript scent. The drydown reminds me of cheap male cologne. I think this is what the press blurp tries to point out when they state that the fragrances is a "surprising encounter between a mineral freshness and a warm breeze". To me, it's just an average woody amber drydown - to round off the the disappointing experience. Staying power is not as bad as I thought in the beginning, i.e. the ambery notes lingered on for 6 hs on my skin. Also okay on a man, I reckon.

Sand & Sable by Coty


Similar to Carolina Herrera (the very first one). Fruity-flowery, bananas and tuberose, a funny and loud and "very 80's" kind of a scent. Not available in Europe, therefore I ordered it from the States; I had read many positive reviews. To me it smells out-dated. Lasts and lasts and lasts...even when you wish it was gone.

Scarlet Rain by Mandarina Duck


Nonedescript, dull fruity-floral. Hardly any sillage, gone in less than 1 hour. Very cheap-looking bottle. Not recommended!

Sensuelle Russie Esteban


This is a wonderful pine and cedar scent! There are many aromatic substances in this fragrance which make you think of a Russian "banja" - a kind of sauna. The scent is irresistible and does in fact evoke the area it alludes to, namely Russia. It's strong and gentle, cold and warm at the same time, playing with the contrasts which shape the image of Russia.

Sensuous by Estée Lauder


Boring, generic amber-style fragrance containing some new aroma-chemical I cannot stand. A major disappointment from Estee Lauder.

Shine by Heidi Klum


Boring and hackneyed el-cheapo type of scent. Wouldn't be able to tell it apart from others in this vein. Not recommended!

Showcat Pussy Deluxe


That's a lovely fruity fragrance, smelling of rasberries, ripe cherries and green apples. Totally inoffensive, a sweet pleasure. Fruit-cocktails are normally not my cup of tea, but this one is an exception. I like the fresh, uplifting top-notes of apples and berries. Dries down to a very soft, pleasant fruity whisper - devoid of any nasty chemical overtones.

Sicily by Dolce&Gabbana


"Sicily" is a unique fragrance. It's still available in Italy and it's hard to understand why D&G discontinued it in the rest of Europe. Probably it's too different from the other perfumes in their line-up. A weird outsider, I guess. "Sicily" is a modern fragrance which contains loads and loads of aldehydes which add an inspiring sparkle to the ingredients used in the top-notes. I can smell zingy bergamot and orange blossom, but can't share the "banana-connotation" often mentioned by other reviewers. D&G don't mention banana on their own homepage, btw. I checked, because I can't understand where the "banana-thing" comes from. Anyway, no banana for me in "Sicily", but masses of jasmine instead. Jasmine appears as the dominating note in "Sicily", giving the fragrance a feminine touch. "Sicily" by D&G also manages to conjure up that vintage lipstick smell which takes me back to my mum's makeup-bag. Jasmine, of course, is also very indolic. Mixed with a touch of iris on a fine base of musk and sandalwood, this "old" scent from D&G smells much sexier to me than their latest creation called "Desire". "Sicily" is a complex, strong fragrance which tickles the imagination. A fragrance not to be underestimated.

Signorina by Salvatore Ferragamo


No surprises, devoid of any new idea. A commonplace fruity-floral, well-behaved and not unpleasant, but simply another nondescript example of contemporary mediocrity. I don't even fancy the flacon with its rosy-red ribbons. Pass.

Silences by Jacomo


is a crisp, light fragrance, a perfume you can wear anytime and everywhere, because it will never take the leading part and will not allow you to hide behind an olfactory wall of noise. Beware of the purple edition - it is not to be confounded with the black one. The purple bottle contains one of the most unpleasant fragrances I ever had.

Silences Purple by Jacomo


I used to love "Silences Original", but the purple version is rather disappointing, although it is much stronger than its old black sister, but lacking innovation. Perhaps it's the predominance of jasmin and carnation, which is a problem to me - to summ it up: definetely not my cup of tea.

So Elixir Purple by Yves Rocher


This is one of the worst offerings by Yves Rocher ever. I can't smell anything pleasant in this composition at all, it is vile from head to "toe"-note. Strong and screechy, synthetic in a repulsive and vulgar way, this one is slightly reminiscent of the iconic "Poison" by Dior in the first minute, but the tuberose which made "Poison" great is treated in such a coarse manner in this awful "Elixir" that it is hard to bear. Doesn't come off even after 5 washes in a row. Absolutely nasty. If this the future of Yves Rocher's fragrances, I'm prepared to shed a tear.

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Osez-moi by Chantal Thomass


If you're looking for a fragrance which echoes Villoresi's "Teint de neige" with even more powder and vanilla, "Osez-moi" could be worth a try, although it is not a daring perfume (as the name might indicate). On the contrary, "Osez-moi" is  soft and wraps you into a beautiful blanket of musk and patchouli. The sweet drydown consists of loads of vanilla with a strong addition of the already mentioned musk and patchouli, elements which prevent the fragrance from smelling like a product designed for child care. I don't detect many flowers in "Osez-moi", just a hint of rose and chamomille. Longevity is excellent. You really have to like the combination of powder, musk and vanilla in order to feel comfortable wearing this. Btw, this perfume smells fabulous on my daughter and draws a lot of compilments. Additional asset: the bottle is a real beauty.

Suddenly Woman I by Lidl


Lidl does Chanel No. 5 Eau de Parfum and you might want to consider trying this supermarket-version of an old classic. If your life-style calls for an expenditure-cut and you have a relaxed attitude to brand-names in general, "Suddenly Woman I" will pleasantly surprise you. Of course, it doesn't smell 100% like Chanel No. 5 EdP (let alone like the extrait or like the Eau de Toilette, all of them being different scents), but it's quite close to Jacques Polge's 80's Eau de Parfum version with the same oily and somewhat artificial woody drydown. In a blind test (I loooove blind tests!) two women (my daughter, my colleague) and one man (my husband) took "Suddenly Woman I" for Chanel No. 5 EdP.

How could the supermarket-chain come up with 50 ml of a decent and long-lasting (!!!) Chanel-dupe for the price of 4.90 Euros? The production of pefume seems to be an extremely cheap business those days.

Mexx Woman Summer Edition 2014 by Mexx

No big league perfume, but a nice, cheap drugstore-scent which stays in the background, because when the pleasant top notes (very fruity!) of pineapple leaf and pear (which somehow end up smelling like watermelon - and I love watermelon) have evaporated, the fragrance weakens. It then turns into a soft, predictable fruity floral; nevertheless not worse than many other offerings by more prestigious brands which charge more money for the same kind of summery cocktail.


Monday by Al Haramain


"Monday" - not the most popular day of the week. And a weird name for a fragrance steeped in oriental enigmas. "Monday" comes on strong with a blast of citrus, mint, amber and peach and then reveals a spicy, warm, woody heart with cardamom and amber. Oud is not mentioned in the pyramide above - but it is there. In the background (thanks goodness).
"Monday" is a fortright, oriental fragrance and not very refined. But it's got the right guts you need on a Monday plus a tremendous presence. Btw, there is no alternative choice here, no "Eau de Monday" in spray-form available. The container is made from plastic, so don't be disappointed, it looks better in the picture than in real life. "Monday" still lingers in the air even when Tuesday has arrived, so kindly ignore the cheapness of the bottle and rejoice at the amazingly inexpensive 12 Euros for 15 ml of perfume oil.


Plum & Honey by Acqua Colonia 4711


4711 have launched all kinds of uplifing and refreshing EdC-combos, most of them sparkling, exhilarating, green, citrussy and ideal for summer. But the new "Plum&Honey" EdC is designed for fall/winter and seems to cater for people who have a strong penchant for fragrances dominated by honey. "Plum&Honey" is an Eau de Cologne, but I had to scrub the scent off my wrist using soap and a brush. This is one of the strongest and most long-lasting EdCs I've come across in a long time. The sickly-sweet honey lingers on and on while the plum-note is gone after five minutes.


Passion Man by 2014 FIFA World Cup Brasil

Commercial, mainstream, a cosmetic company wanting to cash in on the World-Cup... - of course, the discerning niche-afficionado and perfume-snob is reluctant to dip her/his nose into this supposedly "vile" product, which has to smell even worse than the latest Justin Bieber-release. I read quite a few comments by people who were embarassed to admit they tested this stuff, which tells us a lot about pre-conceptions and set mind-frames.

Well, this is neither a Guerlain-mainstream nor a Malle-edition, it is a plain cheapie with no big fashion name behind it and it might even be aimed at the working-class football fan. How awful.  Shudder...

But in a blind test, this scent turned out to be just a totally average fragrance, just as nondescript and harmless as any of the new releases by Gucci, Hugo Boss, Clavin Klein or Ralph Lauren (to name just a few mainstream-companies). "World Cup 2014" is a tad sweet and reminds me of a scent by POLICE from 2013 which came in one of the ugliest vessels ever ("King"). Honestly, scentwise, "2014 World Cup Brazil" is nothing to get upset about. "King" was nothing to get upset about either. "World Cup" is just another commercial realease devoid of new ideas. What you get here for the price of 14 Euros/100ml are some fairly pleasant, common aromachemicals diluted in alcohol. No need for snobbism.


Sexy Amber by Michael Kors

Not your typical amber at all. Instead an open-faced freshness and unexpected lightness in the top-notes followed by a reliable old friend, jasmine, resting on a base of synthetic sandalwood. Does not send out those pretty definite vibes of ambery sensuousness at all, but lets you feel free and easy. A welcome change from those heavies you are supposed to feel "sexy" in - but why the misleading name? Apart from that: the pungency of the synthetic base spoils the whole thing for me. An acceptable artificial sandalwood is notoriously difficult to produce, but the one used in "Sexy Amber" is particularly unpleasant. The drydown reminds me of Estee Lauder's "Modern Muse", not by chance created by the same perfumer.


The Colours - Green by Red & Gold

"Green" by the brand Red&Gold from Bulgaria is one of the best inexpensive scents ("cheapies") I have tried this year. It's very easy to use (slips in every handbag) and consists of a seasonal balance of fresh and flowery spring/summer accords. A splendid fusion of green and white flowers, and thankfully, no opulent roses. I say "thankfully" because this green fragrance would not benefit from a strong rose accent. "Green" dries down to a slightly creamy, musky scent. Bright and beautiful.


Memories and Roses by Red & Gold

"Memories and Roses" is a Bulgarian fragrance coming from a fairly new brand (which was established in Bulgaria in 2007 and opened a branch in Britain this year). "Red Gold Roses" use pure Bulgarian rose-oil in all their compositions and I recently had the pleasure of trying their entire range (at the perfume-fair "Global Art of Perfumery" in Düsseldorf/Germany).

"Memories and Roses" is the company's signature scent, but it is not what I expected. I thought that the company's signature-scent would be a rose-soliflor or one of those old-fashioned, lush and heavy "red roses". To my great relief, "Memories and Roses" presents itself as a modern creation with a very intense blend of fresh top-notes (bergamot, mandarine) and a warm heart which features the expressive Bulgarian rose surrounded by jasmine and ylang-ylang on an aromatic and elegant bed of mossy and balsamic notes. The mix is quite distinctive and smells really sophisticated. For the price of approx. 45 Euros/100ml you get a high-quality Eau de Parfum with excellent staying-power and strong sillage. I must point out that this creation is no retiring French "bon chic-bon genre" rose-scent, but a passionate Bulgarian flowery fantasy, maybe a bit too cloying for some people. On the other hand, many perfume lovers complain about the ridiculously low staying-power of many recent fragrances. So if you are in the mood for a strong, radiant perfume, "Memories and Roses" could be your cup of tea.


Mediterra Lemon Garden by Hildegard Braukmann

This citrussy scent doesn't exactly make waves, but at least it makes an uplifting splash. It emphasises the Eau-fraiche aspect, skipping the sensual part and concentrating on an ultra-citrussy note I'd call a kind of "yellow light". Not much of an asset in cold weather, but great for spraying something on without worrying about over-applying. A minimalist little number, nothing pretty or formal, just a light refreshment for broad daylight. Very affordable (around 10 Euros).


Paname Paname by Libertin Louison - Technique Indiscrète


Trop discrète, cette "technique indiscrète" - I have to start with the aspect which keeps me me from writing a more elaborate review: "Paname Paname" is a scent of poor staying-power - only 60 min on my skin. What happens during that hour? An interesting development from a spicy scent dominated by cumin boasting of a slightly sweaty aspect to a sweet and soft impression of apple-crumble on a bed of musk. Et alors: Au revoir. Fini. Chypre accord? Moss? If at all, then it's all very, very low-key, a soft whisper in the background.  I smell a tiny bit of leather and moss, but it's all too faint and too discreet. Methinks, this scent is the opposite of "indiscrète". My overall impression: too much cumin, and the rest is "trop discrète, je regrette".


Quelques Notes d'Amour by Yves Rocher

There is not a single shrill note in this scent, which is understandable when you look at the pyramide. "Quelque Notes d'Amour's" rosy heart is combined with a nicely balanced base of patchouli, cedarwood and benzoine. Well-behaved and polite, somehow old-fashioned and rather quiet. Yves Rocher and perfumer Bertier (creator of Flowerbomb!) opted for good manners and feminine grace. I see shades of dusty pink, rose and apricot, scarfs made of organza and georgette, soft and supple fabrics for a subtle scent which floats and insinuates - a scent perfectly in line with the lighter trend in perfumery. Too shy and conventional for me. Like a faint shadow of "La vie est belle" in  tiny dilution.



Rose Ambre by Fragonard


„A Rose in Samarkand ” - the latest addition to the "Collection JARDIN" is the new fragrance "Rose Ambre" which opens with the sharp sweetness of bergamot and black current, but soon gives way to a divine mixture of a very velvety, natural rose and almond. The base features patchouli, amber, tonka and vanilla. Very warm, lush and sensual. Rose and amber - to me one of the most beautiful combinations. Of course, all of this has been done before, but "Rose Ambre" is as beautiful as many other much more expensive similar fragrances (e.g. "L'Inspiratrice" by Divine or "Rose Velours" by van Cleef&Arpels to cite just a few). Excellent staying-power, beautiful packaging.



Si Intense by Armani


The fruity blackcurrant and the dry patchouli from the original version are still there in "Si Intense", but, of course, it is headier than the regular "Si". The flowers have been amplified, and as the scent develops, freesia takes the lead and seems to stand out, followed by notes of amber, wood and vanilla. Obviously L'Oréal has found what the majority of women want in a perfume, "Si Intense" is one of the current top-sellers in Europe. The fragrance in not too playful, not too fruity, but very wearable and appropriate for most occasions, a modern, yet somehow very conventional creation. Once on the skin you don't have to top it up at all. It lasts and lasts. The drydown shows some "artificial edge" I don't enjoy - could it be the ambroxan?


Nudo Amber Intense by Pomellato

To me, this smells overwhelmingly and weirdly of burnt amber accompanied by orange blossom, jasmine and ambroxan. Anyone familiar with the various "amber perfumes" will realize that this is a "modern" take on the subject: Middle East accords meet Mediterranean essences, both of them having eloped from a huge chemical lab where they were flung together with ambroxan, musk and vanilla in an attempt to create just another "sensuous" scent to fill a very desirable perfume bottle. . An average scent in a beautiful bottle.


Severny by Novaya Zarya

Before Malevitch was able to earn his living by painting revolutionary stuff like the "Black Square", he designed this fantastic flacon in 1908. It contained a classic Eau de Cologne called "Severny".
The bottles design reflects the name of the fragrance: "North/Northern" - with its matt glass and the icebear on top of a glacier. The material and the structure of the flacon convey the idea of ice and cold. The icebear functions as cap and before the revolution, it was made hand-made from glass. Fortunately, the original design by Malevitch and the fragrance survived until the end of the 1980's, but the vessel was no longer hand-made. In the end, the cap was made from plastic.
Before the Russian revolution, the strong and refreshing scent was produced by Brocard, later the brand was turned into Novaya Zarya.
My own bottle is from the 1980's (bearing the plastic cap). The top notes of the fragrance are no longer intact, but the heart is still there: strong bergamot combined with jasmine on a musky base. Not as icy as one would think.


Sun Moon Stars by Karl Lagerfeld
I recently watched a documentary about Karl Lagerfeld and was very impressed. The man is ultra-cool and uncompromising. Do you remember "KL" by Lagerfeld? It used to compete with "Opium" - and imho, it smelled even better than the famous scent by YSL. Why is it that "Opium" is still around and "KL" is not? Perhaps "Opium" was simply the catchier name?
When you look at the list of perfumes launched by Lagerfeld, there are only a few which really made it to the top. "Chloé" from 1977, his very first fragrance, is still available, but was reformulated. And then there is "Sun Moon Stars", marketed by Coty and still more or less the same as it used to be when it was first released in 1994 - twenty years ago. Smelling it today, I thought it belonged to the category of big, fat florals popular in the 1980's, but it clearly is a 90's creation composed by Sophia Grojsman. She did "Eternity", "Trésor", "Beautiful", "Sotto Voce", "Lalique de Lalique", "Kashaya Kenzo", "True Love" (Arden) and YSL's famous "Paris"- plus "Yvresse/Champagne", also by YSL. And she loves to pile floral accords onto sweet fruity motifs. All the fragrances I mentioned here are strong and so is "Sun Moon Stars". So, it's simply a matter of whether powerful, multi-facetted flowery fragrances appeal to you or not. If they do, give "Sun Moon Stars" a try. Of course, the smell of "Sun Moon Stars" comes a bit as a shock when you compare it to transparent, light creations of the 2000's years or your usual Eau de Cologne by Jo Malone. "Sun, Moon, Stars" is a potent cocktail, it's sweet and somehow artificial, especially in the beginning when the top notes explode with pineapple, peach and rose. The heart offers a floral firework which I can't really analyze with my nose: carnation, orris root, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, orange blossom, orchid... - brash and bright, a bit like sirup.
Not many women feel comfortable in "Sun Moon Stars", but it is a fragrance with long-lasting presence and it does smell pretty unique! Like quirky Karl Lagerfeld, "Sun Moon Stars" is very memorable. Under its sweet exterior, there is an infiltrating, seductive side that only a genius like Sophia Grojsman was able to create. Still the best Lagerfeld-scent on the market since the discontinuation of "KL".


Volare by Oriflame


Volare" smells like "Trésor" by Lancome. Praliné, leather - notes which are mentioned by the company and which are supposed to be parts of the drydown - I'm sorry, but I can't detect them. Is it just me? I got this as a present and I know my friend picked it because of the cute bottle/packaging. Hadn't worn the rosy, peachy, floral "Trésor" for ages and was pleased to find that the Oriflame-version of it is still a very versatile, long-lasting, extremely feminine scent. The people at Oriflame don't have many ideas of their own, but most of their fragrances are excellent copies of established bestsellers.



Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift


"Wonderstruck" comes in a cute bottle, but it doesn't smell as cutsey or unpleasantly sentimental as I expected. After a very fruity start, the fragrance takes a warm, slightly nutty, vanilla-ambery direction. Very artificial, you might say and I wouldn't object. But given the low price and the "genre" (we're looking at a celebrity scent aimed at a very young audience of fruity-floral lovers) you could do much worse. I tested the latest "Christina Aguiliera" yesterday, a scent called "Unforgettable" and decided that this nondescript fragrance of hers doesn't even deserve a review of its own, just this rant: How could one use the word "UNFORGETTABLE" for such a "meh" juice? I still remember Avon's "Unforgettable" and my heart aches... But enough, I digress. What I wanted to say is: "Wonderstruck" isn't a masterpiece, but it's more memorable than many other celebrity-releases. And Taylor Swift (or Arden) even came up with a name of their own which stuck/struck.

Womanity Eau pour Elles by Thierry Mugler


When "Womanity" was first unleashed on the perfume world, reactions were mixed, ranging from euphoric to disgusted. The controversial fragrance with incredibly polarising power is too loud and "weird" for many people and I guess that's one of the reasons Thierry Mugler came up with "Womanity Eau pour Elles" in 2012, a lighter, fresher version of the ultra-tenacious "Womanity". The "Eau" is not as high-powered as you might expect, on the contrary, it is fruity and soft, I can smell strawberry and a sultry mix of white fig. The notorious "caviar note" is present, but keeps quiet and remains in the background. "Womanity Eau" convinces me with its deliciousness, with its haunting echo of the sea and its unusually gentle mélange of ingredients I know from the Eau de Parfum version (which I don't like as much as this summery flanker). Give it a try if you think that "Womanity EdP" is unbearable. You might be pleasantly surprised.


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Womanity by Mugler


A very tacky bottle housing a UNIQUE fragrance. I'm not going into details (caviar notes and fig, salt and sugar) - but I must say that WOMANITY is innovative, very strong and multi-facetted. One of the best launches of 2010. I love it when a perfume manages to polarize and evoke strong emotions/opinions. BRAVO, Thierry Mugler.

Wolfgang Joop Freigeist by Joop!


Generic, boring, nondescript... - what a waste - considering the gorgeous NAME of the fragrance! Freigeist is such a fantastic word in German - and now linked to such a vile scent.

Wind Song by Prince Matchabelli


A surprisingly "cheap" fragrance which smells great. It's fresh and clean, with hints of vetyver and an acerbic spike of greenery achieving a softness and subtlety that is very pleasant. Wind Song remains softly persistent as it gradually fades away- and I find it is very prettily packaged with its floral bird motives. It is a delight to give away this perfume in Europe (because it's not available here) and to find the recepient delighted... and it looks suitably shy on the dressing-table.

All Copyrights © 2014 J. Richter

Reviews M - Z

Mad Madame by Juliette has a Gun


"Mad Madame" unites a couple of themes the brand " Juliette Has a Gun" stands for. Like the famous "Lady Vengeance", 2012's "Mad Madame" is built around a rose accord, but this time, it is bigger and sharper than the rose you might know from "Lady Vengeance". It is also quite metallic - and not as pleasant as I thought.
After a few minutes the "rose oxide" (as it is called by the brand's perfumer Romano Ricci) is joined by a strong, loud patchouli note. Mind you - you have to like patchouli in all its facets to be able to wear "Mad Madame", because the patchouli in this scent seems to have gone ballistic. Enter another old friend, the notorious ambroxan, probably used in order to amplify the earthy aspects of the patchouli and to add yet another woody, nearly resinious touch. The result is a loud tune - the key word here is "overdone". Thus the perfume "Mad Madam" is true to its name: a crazy mixture of rose, ambroxan and patchouli, three forces to be reckoned with and which explode when you release them from their red bottle. The entire creation would seem totally off-key at daytime. Wear it to a party, but remember that it's made for fearlessly self-confident people only.


Miss Giordani by Oriflame


Perfumer Lucas Sieuzac has worked for Amouage, Jil Sander and Givenchy (to name just a few) and some of his creations are outstanding. Of course I don't know what ORIFLAME told him, but I guess the message was to come up with a fragrance echoing the fruity-flowery accords of two megasellers, Roberto Cavalli's fragrance "Roberto Cavalli" from 2012 and Elie Saab's popular first fragrance from 2011. "Miss Giordani" smells like a cross between the two and while the bitter notes of grapefruit and bergamot are the more original part of the scent, the pronounced neroli heart is extremely repetitive, because it has been done so often in the past five years. "Miss Giordani" is potent and long-lasting and comes in a beautiful vessel with an attractive golden cap. Probably an excellent alternative to the more expensive Elie Saab/Cavalli-group. Not my cup of tea at all, because I dislike neroli when it is as strong as in "Miss Giordani".


Moment Volé by Fragonard

This one has absolutely nothing in common with the old version of "Moment volé", although the attractive bottle and lovely packing suggest this could be a nostalgic scent. Mais non, it's a contemporary fruity-floral. The opening with loads of rasberry and blackcurrant reminds me of Marc Jacob's "Lola". The heart is very flowery with iris, violet and rose and the base has got an ambery touch and turns into a pleasant, unobtrusive powdery veil during the day. Longevity is above average, excellent for an Eau de toilette (only available in 100 ml bottles). If you're into modern fruity-florals in the style of "Lola", you might enjoy this one. (It's a pity that Fragonard releases less and less original fragrances of their own. Most of their products seem to be copies of mainstream designer-scents).


My Lady by Mel Merio

Surprise, surprise: here's a brandnew cheapie (from 2015) which smells lovely. Gourmand rose, lychee, vanilla and patchouli. A bargain. Available from the German drugstore "Rossmann" for the price of approx. 6 Euros. A sweet cloud of roses you can reapply throughout the day without remorse. A pretty scent.


Pascal Morabito Or Noir (reformulated version)

This used to be great perfume, but imho reformulation ruined it. What I smell today is a copy of Avon's (also reformulated) "Timeless"-fragrance. (I'm writing this as a lover of chypre-perfumes). "Or Noir" takes us on a journey through gardens of iris and jasmine, narcissus and patchouli and could be a classic French fragrance, but the basic melody has been changed and swapped for some artificial and utterly unpleasant mystery of aromachemicals. What emerges is a cloying and "dusty" perfume, old-fashioned in a bad way.


Scent Essence - Sparkly Citrus by Avon

Washing-up liquid in perfume form. The citrus accord is neither sparkling nor beautiful, but screechy and devoid of any new idea. Can't recommend this it all. 7 Euros are too much for such a bad fragrance. You could use it as a bathroom-freshener.


Touch by Elode


Reminds me of all those fragrances done in the style of "Pink Sugar". "Touch" is a sweet concoction, starting with a burnt sugar-candy floss note which morphs into a vanilla-caramel pudding. There is nothing fruity or floral for me to report. This seems to be a conventional gourmand, radiating a comforting, yet artificial warmth. Btw, on the packaging it says that the bottle was produced in China and the fragrance itself in France.


Turquoise Summer by Escada


"The same procedure as every year, Escada."
Why do they start to bombard us with this stuff in January? I know what’s coming... a predictable, robotic, hackneyed annual burst of fruity notes. Basically a "Turquoise Summer" could be a nice idea, but it is completely destroyed by being subsumed into this collection of commercial "tutti frutti accords" Escada inflict on us every year. And I once thought the first Escada-fruity-floral would be a one-hit wonder...(btw, which one was it? "Sexy Graffiti" from 2002? Or should we date the trend back to "Chiffon Sorbet" from 1993?)