Top Rated Reviews of the last 7 Days

Alex1984 3 days ago
4 Awards
Deadly sin
Quintessentially Poison! The richness, the darkness, the plummy liquor one finds in the vintage edt, here it is amplified by the animalic castoreum or civet, or both, to new heights. This is in perfume form (pardon my language) the best f*k you’ll get, leaving you wanting more and more.

I always thought that the edt was enough, and god knows I have enough vintage bottles of it to last me until 2967, but an unexpected surprise came in the form of a cute little 15 ml Esprit and soon I was buying the only 50 ml Esprit that I could find on evilbay. Man this is a stunner. My only fear is running out, or worse, thinking the edt is not good enough. Dumb fears I know, but once you get the thick taste of it, everything else seems inferior. Luckily, the sillage is out of this world potent even when dabbed so I hope it will last long enough to probably outlive me.

If the edt takes the plummiest and booziest tuberose to new heights, the Esprit introduces the heliotrope, which now sings clearly, the ambery resins that stick to skin like molasses, the fiery redhead bestie of Poison, miss carnation, and their pets, most likely a castor named Hulk and a civet named Priscila. If you thought the edt was suffocating enough, which I happen to love, the Esprit is the heavyweight champ.

But the main difference is the 4K definition of notes. Every wearing is different but Poison takes its time to introduce every note to you, sometimes all at once and sometimes one by one. Here you can see the complexity and smell it, see how every note plays out to something greater that the sum, all the while with incredible finesse. Brutal strength, but elegance. I really feel the Esprit is the one every Poison worshipper should own, and at the same time the one that can really show what Poison is all about to anyone interested in this 1985 beauty. The spices never let the tuberose completely take over, while the honey and plums engulf it like the finest Bordeaux.

For all it’s detractors, it’s overuse or abuse in the 80’s, there’s a person that adores her, and there’s no denying that there aren’t beauties like this made today. The quality is obvious in the fact that 30 years later, well cared bottles smell absolutely gorgeous, there are scents directly inspired by Poison (Loretta is one, Tubereuse Animale 3 is another) and even today it elicits strong feelings in people, even if said people are mostly perfumistas. Regular folks have left her behind, along the other beauties of the decade, closing the door to excess and welcoming minimalism. In this context, Poison wouldn’t make it, there’s too much in that deep purple-almost-black bottle that most would feel uncomfortable.

I don’t believe in signature scents, but Poison Esprit is me. And if I’m ever remembered for my scent, I want to be the guy that reeked of Poison, and absolutely rocked it!

Alex1984 25 hours ago
3 Awards
Rooney, not Audrey
Let me get one thing of my chest before I can review it for what it is; this is not L’Interdit! Audrey wouldn’t be caught dead wearing this, and it’s a disgrace both to her and monsieur Givenchy, naming this scent like that; it’s new so give it a new name, don’t confuse people whether longtime users of real L’Interdit or new ones wondering what miss Audrey loved to wear.
Having said this, L’Interdit is a recipe for success (for the house and LVMH in general that is) as it’s the new blockbuster; it is to 2018 (or will be) what La vie est Belle was to 2012 until now; prepare for flankers and every brand trying to cash on its success.

Just like Lancôme’s hit advertised a ‘brought back from the archives’ bottle for the ‘first ever Iris gourmand’ (erm, Iris Ganache where are you?) and mixed tradition and novelty for a feel good scent that launched during the financial crisis and skyrocketed, so does Givenchy look back to its history and again creates something that isn’t new, as has been seen before. Quite a few times actually. They took inspiration from the above mentioned Lancôme (the inevitable sweetness that cant be missing from a new launch, heaven forbid if we don’t get our daily sugar dose!), from Elie Saab’s Le Parfum (a beautiful orange blossom that still feels relevant) to create the floral heart that is more orange blossom than tuberose actually, and from Dior’s Poison Girl to create the woody and cashmere soft base; almond and vanilla for my girl, ambroxan and vanilla for L’Interdit. Of course, signed by Dominique Ropion, the goose that lays the golden eggs of modern perfumery and avant Garde aromachemicals.
With all this mashup, what do we get? Well, it’s not that bad. It smells nice, lasts well and the sillage is that of a proper designer perfume; it’s there.

Monolithic and quite linear, despite all the notes advertised, L’Interdit 2018 starts with orange blossom and a smidgeon of tuberose that smells honeyed and well made. It’s not screechy but warm. The heart becomes sweeter courtesy of the caramel and pear (pear compote actually) but stops just before it becomes downright obnoxious. Less sweetness would have been very welcomed. Then the base becomes woodier without the migraine inducing scent of ambroxan (or at least the version they used is milder) with added vanilla (of course!) and some defanged patchouli (no chocolate dirt like Angel; today, Angel seems to be too passé).
You’ll smell it, it’ll smell familiar (hello!) and it’ll be pleasant. You’ll recognize bits and pieces but they’re put together to create a modernist version of a family portrait; mamma Vie Belle, aunt Le Parfum and hip Poison Girl daughter. But somehow it works, I enjoy it from time to time, and doesn’t make me want to jump of my skin.
I wouldn’t buy it for myself, but if it landed on my laps as a present I wouldn’t mind using it. I would’ve named it Collage because in the end, it does what many try but fail; establish a continuation of past hits, following their footsteps. It is not original or new one bit, but it found the way to become relevant, and soon it’ll be topping sales. Just wait and see.

Alex1984 4 days ago
2 Awards
Candlelight glow
I thought I had written a review on Salome but I guess I was too busy wearing and enjoying it. Papillon as a whole, is one of the few brands that keep my faith in indie, niche, and artisanal perfumery. While bigger brands have been going mainstream for the last 5 years or so, Liz Moores goes slowly and steadily towards curating a line that is both fascinating and rewarding. Salome is my favorite.

The concept behind, and the inspiration, was an old photograph from the turn of the century. And the scent itself could easily belong there, as it follows the footsteps of Shocking and even Femme; sepia toned, glowing warmth. Gentle spices, a French floral heart and a chypre backbone, Salome bends olfactory families and draws the best from them; expertly blended, it’s hard to pinpoint the notes. There’s effervescence in the opening from sparkling bergamot, spicy florals in the heart with a beautiful rose and carnation like you don’t smell anymore, and a beautiful animalic drydown that mixes civet, castoreum and hyraceum with musk and smoky patchouli. Just like older fragrances, the animalic notes enhance and magnify the whole composition, and don’t scream just for the sake of it. While dirty and skanky at times, mostly from the touch of cumin, the animalic notes make the scent far bigger than the sum of its parts.
Here is where Femme comes into play; Salome feels like a worthy Roudnitska descendant in the best possible way. One relies on the erotic qualities of ripe fruit (plums, hence Prunol base) while Salome relies mostly on ripe florals past their prime. The spices are gentle and warm, merely glowing forever, and there’s a strong oakmoss bone that transcends standard orientals and chypres. Salome is art, expertly conceived, translating into pure pleasure to wear. Long lasting, noticeable for hours, and unabashedly sensual when worn, and sexual when smelt.

In this time and age, when IFRA is the big bad wolf that has forever destroyed many beloved masterpieces, fragrances like this show that while there are restrictions, quality perfumes can still be made, as long as there is a coherent vision, zero focus groups and marketing, and no need for ass kissing big aromachemical corporations. As long as there is talent and people who believe in perfumery, there are still many more Salomes to come. And while IFRA will only get more restrictive, perfumery isn’t yet dead. Not by a long shot.

Alex1984 4 days ago
2 Awards
42nd with Times Square please
Fate Woman was the last Amouage that I loved. But while Fate was mostly an homage to vintage Bandit, Shalimar and Opium on my skin, Imitation Woman is completely new. I’ve been scratching my head to try and figure if it reminds me of anything, and it doesn’t. There’s a general vibe, a nod to genres and a way of saying ‘this is how they used to make em’, but Imitation is a beauty on its own, at least for me, although I’m sure this won’t be one of the popular ones. It’s too weird, too ‘in your face’. Maybe that’s why I absolutely love it!

The inspiration behind is 70’s New York, but for me is mostly late 70’s to early/mid 80’s.
Early 70’s were still pretty much green, chypre fragrances, and hazy dreamy florals. Think Halston, Scherrer, Chloé, Anaïs Anaïs, Private Collection; fragrances were tough just like the women and the conditions in New York, but there was space and time for a more dreamy world, seen through a haze of erotic florals.
Imitation lands somewhere between 1977 and 42nd street; seedy, gritty, colorful and bright just like a neon sign on Times Square.
The opening aldehydes (not as big as I wished for, but there for most of the duration) give room to the blackcurrant, the juiciest, highest pitched, most authentic blackcurrant that I have smelled. It’s uber sweet and gives fruitiness a whole new meaning. It’s fruity in the same way vintage Poison or Black Orchid are fruity; not the same by a long shot, but the same carnality and sensuality, hidden behind a playful façade. The licorice, which usually is my nemesis comes soon after, but it is done in such a beautiful and mature way, I keep wanting more of it. There’s a ‘secret elixir’ feel to it, just like a shot from an unnamed bottle served to you at Studio 54 while you’re chatting with Grace (Jones of course)! She would have rocked it back then.
The heart brings a honeyed orange blossom and skanky jasmine together, creating a more extravagant 80’s floral heart, with patchouli (earthy and heady), incense (dry and smoky), and sandalwood instead of long gone animalic notes. The beauty and the beast. ‘Pretty’ florals along ‘dirty’ base notes with rough edges to remind us that Bright Lights Big City is also dangerous.

Imitation feels like a girl that lives somewhere uptown. There’s a different feel than living downtown, and a bigger sense of security. But she loves to party, and she knows that the real living is somewhere along midtown, Coney Island or the Bronx. She doesn’t mind getting dirty, but she always has perfectly manicured red almond nails and a healthy supply of hairspray. And when she leaves the comfort of her suburban enclosure, she lights up a cigarette, gets of at Times Square, and follows the flow. It might not be Studio 54 every Saturday, but she always finds the right place. Imitation smells bright, ‘happy’. There’s a certain innocence underneath, a sensation that youth is eternal and the world is one big bite, that Saturday nights last forever and the sun will always shine brighter this side of the Brooklyn bridge.

Slightly ambiguous, Imitation manages to blend the beauty with the grittiness. It is both clean and dirty, and it’s New York before the Giuliani cleanup that eliminated, along with murder and crime, the rogue diversity that made Manhattan.

There’s a scene in The Deuce’s second season opening (HBO, highly recommended) where we see Candy walking along pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers and hustlers. She’s wearing a fur coat and a white silk ensemble that looks like Halston. While she smiles to some familiar faces on her way to a new disco, there’s a melancholy reminding her that some years before she was on those streets asking 30 plus 10 for her services, and a strength that shows her that she’s past those years, somewhere better, but not quite there yet; there are still obstacles in her way.
It’s Christmas 1977, the snow is falling, and Candy smells of Imitation. She might not have the uptown living just yet, but she embodies the scent perfectly!
My favorite release of 2018.

Alex1984 4 days ago
2 Awards
On the prowl
Les dieux vivants ont leur parfum. Kouros.

1984 Charles of the Ritz (Paris) version. Long review.
The scent of gods.

Kouros. A marvel of 1980’s perfumery, Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘most expensive perfume for men’ came 4 years after Opium, the oriental that changed the world and shaped a generation into excess and decadence. Not without controversy, while Opium was said to encourage drug use and illicit substances, Kouros (codenamed Eros during development) was deemed ‘excessively dirty’ and far too provocative. In the last golden decade of quality perfumery, Yves Saint Laurent showed the world that vision and guts and perseverance are necessary risks to succeed. Without them, one simply follows. Yves lead.

Kouros is one of the most polarizing fragrances, a sign of genius and innovation, a true ‘love it or hate it’ perfume. I, feel it’s one of the most beautiful creations and for me it’s the best male perfume ever created. But that’s just me, and while I adore it, I know many can’t stand it.
A massive hit since day 1, Kouros came at the right time (1981, the decade of excess and power and greed), at the right place (Paris - only a house like YSL could launch an equally provocative perfume for men like they did for women with the blockbuster Opium), and with the right promotion/marketing (the white statuesque bottle, the name, the scent; Pierre Bourdon’s magnum opus).
In the following years many tried to imitate its success, some better than others but none managed to surpass it. The success of Kouros lies in the dichotomy of clean and dirty, purity and carnality, and that couldn’t be copied.

To envision Kouros, one must envision imagery.
Imagine a beach in Greece, Lalaria beach in Skiathos for example. The water is deep crystalline blue, the sun is burning brightly but the gentle breeze that hits the rocks cools the hot August air. There’s no noise, hardly anyone, and you are lying there basking in the glory of the summer. Suddenly, a well tanned, tall, muscular hunk appears a few feet away from you. Watching his statuesque physique, you catch a whiff of him. He smells of soap, probably from the shower he took before coming down to the beach, and of a light herbal deodorant. The smell mixes with the scent of sea salt, iodine, open air and ocean. This is the clean and showered opening of Kouros.
But then again, Kouros is primordially erotic, sensual, of desire. And this hunk soon goes swimming, to cool down in the clear blue waters. From afar you gaze, watching how he swims with artistic grace, taking long strokes until he disappears into the ocean, only to emerge refreshed, with a white brief, that barely hides his masculinity. He smiles politely at you, and lays down on his towel. You feel embarrassed but somehow, you can’t stop staring at him. He lights a cigarette, and suddenly you smell the smoke that comes out of his full lips, the light sweat, the smell of salt evaporating from his body, the smell of Coppertone sun oil; you smell him. And the smell, combined, feels animal, debaucherous, lustful, hedonistic. There’s nothing explicitly sexual, but you get aroused simply by the thought of it; a hot summer, a one night stand, a perfect stranger. Living dangerously, youth is risky and hormone driven. Let go and surrender.

He is Kouros. A masterful combination of natural civet, castoreum, costus root, Animalis base from Synarôme (later used in Montana’s eponymous first creation and falling out of style by the late 80’s), leather, honey, musk, geranium, artemisia, jasmine, patchouli, and many more that combine in true artistry to create something bigger than the sum of its parts.
Kouros isn’t animalic just for the sake of it, which he is - one of the most animalic fragrances created; he is animal. He is as clean or as dirty as you want him to be.
He will either lure you closer or pull you apart, but he won’t leave you indifferent.
He’s smart, hot, killer smile and big attitude. He’s the boy momma said to stay away from, and it’s one of the reasons many women wear Kouros with amazing panache (perfume has no gender). But if you fall for him, there’s no going back.

Once upon a time, a fragrance lead you to dream, fantasize, ready to conquer the world.
It was pure emotion, art, sensuality.
In the early 90’s all that was big and powerful was deemed wrong, and minimalism entered our world, while big hair and big sillage left slowly from the back door. A big wave of Calone was coming to wash us of sins and perfume. Kouros started falling out of favor and all the reformulations that came didn’t do any favors; by the late 90’s/early 2000’s he was slowly fading away. Today, what you find in stores is a mere glimpse of what once was ‘le parfum des dieux vivants’.

Times change, everything evolves (or not, depending how you see it) and people move forward. Perfumery came at its opus with fireworks and left slowly as if a mortal sin. Today, very very few perfumes have the surprise and shock factor of Kouros, and even fewer offer something new, emotion, personality.
Once upon a time, perfumes were a big Dreamland.
And inside a white ceramic statuesque bottle, living gods had their perfume. Kouros.

Alex1984 3 days ago
2 Awards
Chypre à la Italiana
Smelling and wearing K de Krizia, one wonders if Maurice Roucel looked for inspiration in Dioressence and Miss Dior. While all 3 perfumes are a beauty on their own, K has that beautifull herbal of Dioressence that makes it stand out, even among vintage Christian Dior fragrances.

K came in 1980 (or 1981, depending on the source) as the debut fragrance of Mariuccia Mandelli, and has always been considered an aldehydic floral. But K is so complex, so intriguing, so much more that this title doesn’t do it justice. K is floral, leathery, animalic, powdery, chypre, aldehydic,’s an elixir on its own!
The aldehydes are there in the opening, hushed and mellow unlike other aldehydic fragrances. Neroli provides an even fresher sensation with its mellow sweetness, before the floral heart takes over. And here is where the magic happens! Hyacinth is the star; a rich, oily, leathery hyacinth that for a moment, briefly reminds me of the original Trussardi for women. Delicate and whimsical in appearance, hyacinth looks far more innocent than it really is. The rough edges are put upfront, surrounded by narcissus (another killer flower with animalic nuances) and carnation, which adds a spicy and piquant touch. After all, these flowers are anything but demure and innocent. Among them, orris engulfs the flower orgy in one of the most beautiful powder clouds I have ever encountered; you haven’t smelled powdery until you’ve smelt K. Floral powder, leather, is where I’m reminded of Miss Dior (the real one) and see (smell) the imprint it has left and the impact it has made in perfumery.
But the base notes aren’t far behind. Oakmoss, animalic musk (nitromusks more likely), civet, all somehow combines and brings to mind the herbal beauty of Dioressence. The notes are different, the arrangement is more modern, but yet, the classics inspire the new, and the ghost of it lingers on skin like a nymph. Somewhere, deep in the heart of an emerald green forest, a witches brew surrounds me. A beautiful full force chypre.

K has average sillage, and lasts around 16 hours on my skin, hovering above and sending fragrant tendrils to my nose with temperature variations. Krizia chose a classically composed fragrance for her debut, and while probably a big seller in its day, it seems overlooked and underrated. It’s a vintage treasure that hardly gets mentioned, and it’s a shame because it’s a beauty on its own, quite cheap on eBay, and seems to keep very well. I have a large 100ml edp from 1981, and even though it brings to mind many fragrances, it can hold its own. It might start innocent and ethereal, but it has a big and bold heart, that was made more evident in the following Teatro Alla Scala.
If you enjoy green/floral animalic chypres, leathery and powdery herbal green perfumes, or simply love old fashioned quality perfumery, seek it out. Krizia was a helluva designer, and her perfumes were even better.
Italian at its best!

Alex1984 3 days ago
2 Awards
Timeless elegance
Caleche is a glorious soapy aldehyde floral, which in its glorious vintage form (I own a late 70’s edt) shares similarities to the more joyous Madame Rochas. While Gold is described as Guy Robert’s magnum opus, I see Caleche as a more complete creation. And personally I sense no similarities to either Gold or N°5, perhaps the only link between the 3 being an unsurpassed elegance and style.

Caleche opens with sparkling aldehydes, rich florals and mossy greenness. The neroli and lemon have faded a bit in my bottle but the aldehydes are bubbly and rich, and whatever’s left from the citrus oils helps lift them up. The florals that follow change subtly from rich and oily to soapy and powdery, no doubt helped by the Iris. The rooty vetiver soon joins forces with the oakmoss and musk/civet to create a warm sensation that pulsates from the skin, while buttery sandalwood (Mysore) radiates for hours. The general feel is of pristine grooming; skin washed in finely milled French soap, a floral talcum powder applied, and silk underwear. The vetiver/oakmoss/leather combination gives of a ‘wild and free’ out in the open feel; it could very well be a horse ride for the strong and independent woman or a carriage stroll for the more romantic one. Caleche adapts wonderfully to all occasions and it can fit perfectly with anyone, it just needs a strong personality to go with it.
While it embodies a very French 70’s style, it also progresses to the 80’s where it feels more American in a way; it fits perfectly with the empowerment of women in the workplace and while Europe was getting high on Opium and Poison and Coco, Americans were embracing the more bossy green scent of Scherrer, the wonderful Lauders, Chloé and Oscar by de la Renta.
Two different decades, two different worlds, and one perfume, Caleche, walking amidst. Class and elegance all the way!

Inspiration for many scents, Caleche is, to me at least, one of the best aldehyde/floral/chypre gems. Underneath the serious appearance there’s carnality and beauty to be discovered, sensual, not sexual. More than just aldehydes, Caleche embodies the best of the chypre and the floral genre, with woody and leathery facets to create one of Herme’s best creations that, just like Eau d’Hermes before, knows no gender.
For the liberated man and woman. They don’t make them like this anymore.

Alex1984 3 days ago
2 Awards
I’ve been wearing Addict ever since it came out, but I never really came around to review it. I guess I took it for granted.
My review is for the 2002 original of which I’ve been lucky (and wise) enough to backup 2 100ml bottles as soon as I got my first and long gone one (September 2002) and for the extrait which I bought the same year for Xmas. As of now, it’s still found on Ebay, though getting harder to.

Addict embodies all that was happening in the turn of the Millenium. In a sense, it’s a scent capsule. While mainstream had a few good years left, Dior didn’t, and luckily Galliano had the opportunity to envision this and Dior Homme as his exit opus. Kind of vulgar, at times trashy, but always addictive, Addict is logomania, glossy bronzed skin, lots of naked skin actually, gloss, neon colored huge sunglasses and electronic music. Everything that was in and cool at the time, and part of what catapulted Dior to 21st century stardom.
Created by a younger Thierry Wasser, this is a vanilla rush; smoky, leathery, sexy vanilla.
The original opening (and this has been lost in subsequent reformulations) is a slightly bitter and green mandarin leaf (all the rage as a note back then) that avoids turning Addict into a gourmand as they are known today. Addict is a full fledged sweet floriental; rose, jasmine, night blooming cereus or night jasmine or queen of the night (take your pick!) that move in and out and all around the vanilla, which is beautifully dark like the Mexican variety, and is surrounded by a smoky veil that leads to adult creaminess. The sandalwood, which was always stated as Mysore is not; it would have been extremely expensive to use, not to mention almost impossible to obtain by then, but it isn’t screechy or sour; it’s creamy, buttery, boozy and it shows how it can feel like phantom Mysore when mixed with care and talent. I never got the oakmoss, but I did get the most creamy florals, in a most addictive way, which every once in a blue moon take a slightly plasticky feel. Weird, but it’s part of the magic that makes Addict a friend of Shalimar, Habanita and Lou Lou, each showcasing the dirtier side of vanilla.

Addict is a beautiful scent. It followed the success of Hypnotic, which took me longer to appreciate, and showed a somewhat younger and more energizing facet; it came at the right time, at the right place, and with the right name. Hypnotic was almond liqueur Femme Fatale while Addict was an intoxicating vanilla elixir, felt like a drug, and had a naughty first add which got banned months after its release in favor of a censored one. In a subliminal way, Addict was Opium for the new Millenium!
The forgotten extrait feels like the heart and base of the edp from the start, has a bit of powder in the middle, and lacks the sense of rush that the edp has. It’s deeper, very oily on skin with a deep amber color that stains, and lasts until you wash it of. Total powerhouse power for both!

As for current Addict, which I tried just for the sake of it, well it does smell like Addict (still) but it’s basically orange blossom and vanilla. The green opening tinge is gone, as is the smoke that surrounds the vanilla, and the sandalwood feels very ‘Le Labo Santal’. Not the worst reformulation out there, but it’s definitely not Addict(ive). It would have worked better as a flanker.

Alex1984 3 days ago
2 Awards
Baroque Chanel
Coco is the drama queen among the powerful orientals of the 80’s. Moving along the spice route (Opium) towards a mellower Mellis accord, Coco is very similar to Teatro that came a year later, but where Krizia went for spices and carnations, Chanel went for plush amber and baroque orientalism.

Chanel was never one to fall for excess, but Coco, born with me on the same year, inevitably followed trends; sillage and power.
The edp I’m reviewing, a bottle from 1984, is my favorite formulation because it embodies the spirit of the fragrance perfectly.
It opens with a strong note of cloves and coriander, that lend a mellow and piquant balsamic spiciness. Subtle, with a candle light glow, along a juicy orange note that simply enhances them instead of taking over. The overripe peach is akin to Femme’s skin sensuality. Instead of fiery spices, you have the heat of the skin.
The rose and jasmine in the heart really shine and make me see why Chanel is so famed for them. Jacques Polge shows amazing dexterity.
The base further enhances the deep and mellow balsamic quality; a superb sandalwood that 100% feels like Mysore, with its suave and buttery-milky qualities, dances along the resinous labdanum, and the amber wraps itself around the opoponax. A subtle leather smell (castoreum?) dances along the civet, which in the first formulations is natural and extremely potent and sexual. For all it’s class and elegance, Coco never forgets that beneath the surface there’s desire, and Polge balances the beauty with a magnificent and feral civet; it doesn’t enhance the other notes, it shines solo.

While many orientals are famed for their spices, Coco embodies the balsamic quality of the genre. It wouldn’t feel out of place decades earlier, even though it’s excesiveness tells us that Coco comes from the mighty 80’s. If you enjoy Diva (Polge’s prototype for Coco, somewhat drier and more chypre in feel, released a year earlier), Teatro Alla Scala, Fendi, Opium and Femme, Coco is a natural progression. Dramatic, opulent, once the fur is off and the haute couture dress on the floor, manners stay out of the room. There’s only room for passion. Stunning on everyone, with a sexually ambiguous personality that refuses genre!

Alex1984 3 days ago
2 Awards
70’s Paris
Vintage (1978) vs recent (2013) Rive Gauche.

First of, I gotta say; in my opinion this is the best reformulation L’Oreal has done with an YSL fragrance. Actually, the only one that hasn’t completely butchered a perfume. Rive Gauche is still itself, for better or for worse. Main difference lies in the opening and long drydown.
I already really like the current one, but I simply adore the vintage.

The original opens with soaring metallic aldehydes, the ones that sting your nose and give you an instant high. It smells like hairspray in the best possible way, so if you dislike them, stay away. If you love them, like I do, this is heaven! There’s a beautiful tarry quality that further enhances them. Imagine hairspraying a vial of poppers and sniffing. Stunning!
The current one has 0 tar, 0 metallic effect. It’s plain aldehydes with a hint of peach. C14 aldehyde? It will still scare those who loathe them even though the impact is muted compared to the original.

The heart is where the similarities intensify; geranium, Iris, a very French floral bouquet of rose and jasmine, that feels like a finely milled bar of white soap. Blindingly white, in a marble bathroom. Stark and cold, silver bathroom fittings. Vintage has them in spades along a ray of light in the form of lemon and LOTV. Current one dials them down, adds more peach and citrus and feels like a minimalist version. But as a whole, the feel and smell isn’t all that different.

Now the drydown, that’s where you find all the good and heavy stuff.

In the vintage.

Oakmoss galore, vetiver, all smoothed by amber and musk. The new one relies on vetiver mostly, with tonka bean adding a slight fougère effect. Drier, less oakmossy (it still has treemoss), more powdery.
Less green, more grey. The vintage feels more herbal, more full, the oakmoss really shines. The Iris still rocks in a sublime way, the feel is of smoothing body powder on heated skin. Cooling.

With both versions, I get all day longevity and strong sillage. While the new is different, and years of restrictions and reformulations have taken its toll, it’s still very much itself. The controversial aspects have been eliminated or toned down, but it’s a miracle it’s been kept so ‘vintage’ smelling. Fresh, cold (while I never thought of Chanel n°19 as an ice queen, Rive Gauche is definitely a cold hearted one), powdery, green.
It just happens that the 1970’s version gets me high in a way the current one does not. Silver hairspray poppers!
Current? Big like.
Vintage? Absolute love!