Top Rated Reviews - 2012

Scentman 8 years ago 21

Grateful to our Parfumo customers!
Greeting to all my fragrance friends!

I'm finally taking the time to thank you all SO MUCH for your kind words about FETISH and our other fragrances as well. I am so glad that so many of you have enjoyed the scent. We sell our perfumes globally and they do very well but when it comes to FETISH, Germany wins hands down! For that I am eternally grateful to all of you on Parfumo.de. You have made it possible.

I do hope someday to visit Germany and meet you all to thank you in person.

Vielen Dank!

Neil
2 Replies

Coutureguru 8 years ago 18
9
Scent

La Grande Vie
I've been threatening to write this review for the longest time so here goes!! I LOVE 1889 - MOULIN ROUGE!! Here's why:

I have been on the stage for the last 25 years ... give or take ... I'd prefer 'take' :). I don't hide the fact that I am a performing drag artist ... who cares?? It's 2012!! I have performed on big stages and I have performed on tiny stages, on TV and in movies ... this fragrance immediately transports me to the most hallowed of places for people like me ... the dressing room! As an artist, this is the place where all of the vital stuff happens ... the prep. What is seen onstage is simply the culmination of what happens back there ... its a little world all of it's own.
1889 - Moulin Rouge is about as 'over the top' as any fragrance can get. The opening is dusty, as the dressing rooms of the most revered theaters tend to be, a touch fruity (orange peels in a wastepaper basket) and a pinch spicy (the cinnamon here is short lived on my skin). The fragrance unfolds typically ... a well worn leather makeup case is opened next to a bouquet of opening night roses, the heat from the lights around the makeup mirror intensifying the fragrance of slightly warm lipsticks (iris) emanating from within. The musky intensity of greasepaint and slightly soiled makeup brushes overwhelms slightly, while at the end there is the scent of damp costumes piled into a laundry basket, faint traces of sweat mingling with the sweetness of the cheap body spray it was somewhat disguised in.
I would hesitate in recommending this frag to just anyone. The wearing of it demands an intimate knowledge of this clandestine world. Make no mistake, this is a Diva ... slightly frayed around the edges, morally questionable ... but in the realm of that which she calls home ... MAGNIFI-SCENT.

Gents, don't even go here unless you enjoy getting up in a party frock :) ... this one takes absolutely no prisoners!!
5 Replies

Cryptic 8 years ago 18
9
Scent
7.5
Longevity
7.5
Sillage

Dying Swan
L'Heure Bleue in its current formulation never interested me much. It always struck me as the wallflower sister of the classic Guerlain family of Mitsouko, Shalimar, Jicky and Apres L'Ondee. Although LB seemed pleasant enough, it couldn't hold a candle to its more interesting relatives in my mind.

Recently, I was gifted with a generous sample of vintage LB from one of the old "donut" bottles. The color alone was enough to get my attention. It had that deep garnet hue that confers a certain gravitas to perfume and is never associated with anything light, simple, aquatic or gourmand. Testing vintage LB brought home to me how much perfumery has been crippled by the loss of eugenol/iso-eugenol and heliotropin. The current miniscule allowance of these ingredients permitted by the IFRA accounts for the vast difference between the nice LB of 2012 and the glory of Jacques Guerlain's original creation. Belatedly, I can understand why LB inspired so many other perfumers to strive for that same powdery perfection with Insolence and Kenzo Flower, or the "blueness' imparted by clove/carnation in Bluebell, Blue Grass and Wild Bluebell.

LB really was trend-setting, ground-breaking stuff in its day, but along with the loss of its true, natural carnation note, the current juice is also handicapped by lack of heliotropin. Whereas my precious vintage vial contains a luscious, almondy heliotropin that whispers, "I'm what's for dessert," today's version of the flower simply says plastic doll head. I never got the melancholy, the "blue hour" poignancy of this perfume until now. I can see the progression from the wistfulness of Apres L'Ondee to the voluptuous but pensive moodiness of LB like lavender deepening into navy on Jacques Guerlain's palette. If you can find it, do try the vintage in order to fully appreciate this beautiful wonder. Thanks again to the lovely person who made this revelation possible with their generosity. :)
5 Replies

FloraMilena 8 years ago 17

Dessert for Zombies
This masterpiece of modern perfumery smells like a blast of overly ripe soon to be rancid fruit compote sprinkled with stale cinnamon powder and a touch of rose liqueur, surrounded by grotesquely indolic jasmine bouquet with cloying tropical orchid accord woven through the indoles, resting on a monstrous base of caramel, sickeningly sweet melted vanilla ice cream drips hardening on the kitchen counter, moldy old hershey’s chocolate kisses left over from last Christmas, and the overwhelming odor of musty graveyard dirt from an old cemetery.

Angelic isn’t it? BAH. I wouldn’t even want this sprayed on my corpse.
6 Replies

Coutureguru 8 years ago 16
10
Scent
7.5
Longevity
7.5
Sillage

Historical Perfumery Landmark
When I write a list of my top 10 fragrances (a daunting task best left for sometime in the future :o/), Private Collection will undoubtedly be on it more than likely somewhere close to the top. This is not because it is earth-shattering or so different that it brings on that "OH MY GOD ... I have to have a bottle NOW" feeling ... simply just because it is so constant!

I've been around this fragrance for a long, long time! It has been my Mother's signature since the late 70's, and harks back to a time in perfumery when wearing something like this was a status symbol, because even at that time it was considered 'expensive'. I remember being very frustrated that I would have to save my pocket money for at least two years to afford a bottle of this as a gift! As luck would have it, I had a job with Lauder for a short while when I left school and was able to give my Mom a bottle of extrait for Christmas that year! She still has it :) ... along with all the others I have given her since.
When Lauder reformulates, they generally do so in a sympathetic way that retains the original spirit of the fragrance. Private Collection has lost its 'monster sillage and longevity' but retains all of its fabulosity! A superb green floral leaning heavily in the Chypre direction, this fragrance carries all of the hallmarks of what Mrs. Lauder tried to create ... a little piece of luxury for everybody! The deft handling of the Oakmoss, Patchouli and Cedar in the base is a masterstroke of blending. I have taken to wearing this of late as it is completely unisex in the way that many floral chypre's tend to be 35 odd years on.

I yearn for the days of fragrances such as these, when just a drop of extrait carried half a block away. A few spritzes of Private Collection remind me why I am a fragrance fanatic in the first place!!
5 Replies

jtd 8 years ago 16

temporarily speechless
I read Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief years ago. Some time after, I saw the film Adaptation, about which I knew nothing except that it had something to do with the book. To make a film about the inability of the screenwriter to adapt the book was an interesting premise and I found I loved the film. It was smart and exceedingly entertaining, a balance Hollywood manages to find only rarely.

I’d hoped to be clever enough to dream up some ingenious way of talking about l’Air du Desert Marocain. I thought if I waited long enough, it would become clear. Two years down the road, I’m throwing in the towel on wit and inspiration.

I wear perfume every day, but this is the perfume I wear when I want to make wearing perfume a special occasion. I think of it as remarkable, but since I’ve never managed to be able to say anything sensical about it, remarkable is precisely the wrong word. A well-considered piece of abstract art shouldn’t be judged more successful as it grows closer to the descriptive or narrative. Those criteria are irrelevant. Despite its dreamy name, l’Air is an outstanding abstract perfume in that it is rich with ideas and imbued with possibility. If anything, it is more evocative than suggestive. I don’t think, desert. I don’t think, smoke = incense = sacred. I smell it and my head rises, my shoulders release, my eyes open and the world becomes saturated. This is how perfume is art.
1 Reply

Cryptic 8 years ago 16
8
Scent
10
Longevity
10
Sillage

Behold: The Blonde Diva
Fracas was created in 1948 by Germaine Cellier, one of the few female noses working in the male-dominated field of post WWII perfumery. To my mind, Cellier was a legitimate niche perfumer long before the term was even coined, in the sense that her best work (Bandit, Fracas, Vent Vert) appeals to a very specific customer as opposed to courting a more mainstream audience. I'm not surprised that Edie Sedgwick, Madonna, Martha Stewart and Morgan Fairchild are devotees of Fracas given that this fragrance is about as charimatic and Diva-esque as perfume gets.

Although Fracas is often referred to as the gold standard in tuberose perfumes, it is actually not an accurate representation of the flower's natural scent. For that, tuberose fans should look to Ropion's Carnal Flower and its brilliant realism. Instead, Fracas is more of a larger than life, fantasized version of the tuberose flower that was inspired by a stunning blonde of Cellier's acquaintance, Edwige Feuillere.

There is no point listing the notes of this classic, because Fracas is so much more than the sum of its parts, and to quantify it takes away some of the mystery, at least for me. Buttery, creamy, rich, opulent ... Fracas is all those things, and it is such an in-your-face dose of female sexuality that it inevitably inspires some hatred as well as devotion, as all great art tends to do. Fracas is justifiably cherished and revered, despite having been reformulated. Happily, it is one of the lucky few classic perfumes to survive an overhaul unscathed.

As far as the practicalities are concerned, Fracas has mammoth sillage and superb longevity. The only reason I haven't rated it higher is because I struggle to find occasions appropriate/special enough to wear it. Much like a cocktail dress, Fracas is not for workplace wear, unless you aren't afraid of being reported by perfumephobes or bent over a desk by a smitten coworker. ;)
2 Replies

Zakaria80 8 years ago 15
10
Scent

How lucky to be a man..
Why do I like and enjoy being a man? Here are a few reasons:

1.Because I am physically strong (only the exterior though)
2.Because I am scared at nothing (except if you approach me holding spinach pie , or a grasshopper suddenly jumps on me in the summer)
3.Because I feel no pain (except from a kidney stone which once in a while gets stuck in my ureter and if I won’t get a painkiller shot within an hour, I start crying like a little girl)
4.Because I like to admire the female form which is aesthetically and objectively more beautiful than any man
5.Because someone conceived Faubourg (edp version) for women.

Two things I find somehow silly and unevenly cheesy when I am reading a perfume review is the term of sex(y) or an age constraint for a fragrance but...

This is utterly what sex with a beautiful (and I am not referring to the outside only) mature woman must smell like. Effortlessly sexy worn by a woman with a couple of solid life experiences under her belt with the wisdom to know what she wants and how to please the male partner. Whenever a woman shall hit 40, then it's mandatory to own and wear this. This has the wow factor for my nose for the opposite sex.

A M A Z I N G!
2 Replies

Cryptic 8 years ago 15
10
Scent
10
Longevity
7.5
Sillage

An Oud for Me!
Several years ago, oud fever began spreading like wildfire across the perfume blogs and boards, and like so many others, I was captivated. "Noble rot" they called it, and the tales of how it was harvested and the way it was used in the Middle and Far East made agarwood sound so esoteric and totally covetable that I couldn't resist trying some. Thus, I ordered a bunch of samples from Montale, the only house that was using oud on a large scale at the time.

Sadly, my oud testing spree did not go well. The Montale fragrances were without a doubt different from anything I had ever experienced and certainly interesting perfumes. However, I found myself feeling unsettled and borderline anxious whenever I wore them. I eventually figured out that the medicinal, Bactine-like aspect of Montale's oud was reminding me of hospitals, sickness, injury and other unpleasant stuff. "No oud for you!" I thought to myself. Enter Amouage Epic Woman, which I tested on a whim without even knowing that it contained the dreaded oud.

Agarwood (or an aromachemical meant to represent it) is present in Epic Woman from top notes to drydown, but unlike in other settings, the oud here is mellow, a bit sweet and plays well with the other notes. The noble rot descriptor fits perfectly, as the wood has a round, honeyed quality that gives the impression of careful ageing without the medicinal odor. This beautiful note provides the backdrop against which the rest of the fragrance unfolds, at all times enhancing rather than upstaging the other components. Spices, including caraway, pepper and cinnamon abound in Epic, and they have a remarkably fresh quality suggestive of crushing the pods and seeds under a rolling pin as opposed to the dry, musty/stale character found in some spice-laden fragrances. Allegedly, there is a Damascus rose at the heart of Epic Woman, but the floral that I'm able to detect is more of a jam or a liqueur than a natural rose, and all the darker and more rich for it.

Epic Woman's base notes include a creamy, buttery note reminiscent of the one featured in Fracas, as well as the magical silver Frankincense that characterizes most of the Amouage line. Although sandalwood is listed, I can't smell any nasty Polysantol, only an earthy whiff after a few hours of what I assume must be Gaiac wood. The sillage and longevity of this perfume are appropriately epic, as they ought to be for the price. Speaking of which, if loving this expensive juice means a month of eating Ramen in a styrofoam container instead of a proper and civilized lunch, I consider it well worth the sacrifice.
5 Replies

jtd 9 years ago 14

Some thoughts on reformulation in light of Cabochard Catastrophe.
Expectation works against Cabochard, poor dear. Many compare it in its current form to a vintage model. I’ve never smelled vintage Cabochard, so that expectation isn’t an issue. My expectation, and I’ll own it, comes from Cabochard’s family resemblance to Aramis by Aramis and therefore to Estée Lauder’s Azurée. All are leather chypres originally created by Bernard Chant. I have versions of Aramis and Azurée bought within the last five years---ostensibly current issue. They are spectacular in recipe and ingredients, and can be compared head to head (to head) with any other leather chypres, whether niche or designer. Cabochard, sadly, cannot. Not to be simply judgmental, I’ll say that Cabochard is like a grainy, blurry photo of either Aramis or Azurée. I can see that the topnotes are meant to capture the same strong, dry bitterness as found in either of the other two, but it comes off as both shrill and thin at the same time. And it falls apart so quickly! Within five minutes it becomes clear that Cabochard won’t venture down either the leather or chypre paths, instead becoming a disorganized but harsh dry woody fragrance.

I won’t flog a dead horse. I’ll just say that Aramis proves that Cabochard need not be so bad. The Cabochard dilemma makes me consider a few angles on the difficulties of reformulation. I know that reformulation has always occurred in perfumery. This current quandry, though, due firstly to restriction on ingredients and then the meanness of the companies ordering the reformulation, seems to be particular to our time.

Some thoughts.

Zombie or Ghost?
I’d call Cabochard the unequivocal zombie, dead but still lurching among us. The name is the same, the bottle is a knock-off of the original, the juice is a cheap, cynical reformulation. Cheap, since clearly no quality ingredients were harmed in its making. Cynical, as it rides on the longstanding reputation of both the vintage perfume and the perfumer, but doesn’t offer either quality or creativity in the reformulation.

There are quite a few ghosts out there, but who they are will depend on your perspective. I find the current Vetiver by Guerlain sensational. I vaguely remember Vetiver back as far as the 1980s, and while the current rendering might be different, it is still my favorite vetiver by yards. For many, though, it is fallen just enough from its former state that they won’t wear it. Vintage Vent Vert is universally acclaimed, the 1990 version by Calice Becker was apparently a welcome ghost, and the current version is generally panned (zombie.)

Quality Reformulation
Whether done covertly (Mitsouko? Chanel 5? Habit Rouge?) openly (Cuir de Lancome ) by full-on resurrection (Azzaro Couture, Robert Piguet’s Baghari) or some combination of the above (Aramis Gentleman’s Collection) quality, money, consideration and talent pay off. (Quick note, of the acknowledged reformulations that are highly praised, it is startling how often the names of Becker and Aurélian Guichard come up.) Restrictions on the use of classic components is a drag. Fortunately, though, innovations in chemistry and botany give us powerful new tools.

Maintain the Quality of your Heritage Products
Sounds like a simple strategy but I don’t imagine that it’s necessarily easy, with changing access to botanicals and year to year fluctuations. Some make solid efforts in this direction, Chanel and Guerlain being good examples. Others, less so. I’ll leave it up to you to identify these houses. Special mention should really be made here of Estée Lauder’s success. It’s heritage products (eg. Azurée, Knowing, Alliage) continue to be available and at remarkable prices (take that, Guerlain Derby.)

Die a Good Death
There are so many vintage perfumes that lived great lives, were a gift to those who wore them, and then went away, whether remembered today or not. I’m all for preservation, and recognize that the art of perfumery remains largely undocumented and without theoretical consideration in the formal sense. There should be as many institutions like Osmothèque as there are modern art museums. The Theory of Perfume should be an elective in mainstream universities. (I’m not kidding.) But I also recognize that perfumery is an art that, like dance, is experiential and temporal. In fact, this aspect of both dance and perfume is both desirable and noble. It helps me to feel alive to be in the midst of something beautiful that will in fact end.

Simply, Change
Robert Piguet’s line is a good example of the value of multiple strategies. Bandit, Fracas, Baghari, Futur---reformulate to the original specs as best you can with good intentions, quality components and creative talent. But then there’s Visa. What a simple, smartly executed notion: keep the name, allow a great perfumer (again Guichard) to reincarnate it. No deception, no lie, no marketing sleight-of-hand. Visa isn’t an attempt to recreate the original. It takes the qualities and intentions of the original and then gives us something novel. Piguet’s latest, Douglas Hannant, a straight-up new fragrance, is an equal member in the line with the icons Bandit and Fracas.

Find a New Solution
Sure, there are whole categories of fragrance that are new—candied gourmands, aquatics, transparent orientals. But there is also an attempt to reinterpret a genre that’s been stymied. I’ve never tried 31 Rue Cambon, but I respect its statement of intent: to recreate the chypre without oakmoss. Successful? Not? I’ll leave it up to you who wear it. What I appreciate is the attempt to deconstruct the chypre, step away from it, weigh its abstract qualities, and reconsider them with a different construction. There is something intriguing about this approach. The perfumer must be passionate about a form, yet disinterested in the analysis. I have faith that this will give us some great perfumes.