Alex1984Alex1984's Perfume Reviews

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Alex1984 8 months ago 1
8
Scent
9
Longevity
9
Sillage
10
Bottle

A mirage of the past
After living with Peau Intense for the past month or so, and comparing it with my mid 80’s vintage Montana, before the Parfum de Peau moniker was imprinted on the box and bottle, I find I’m enjoying it, but I also feel it’s redundant.

The original is, or was, a leather clad, dominatrix version of the popular 80’s dark rose chypre. Think Diva, L’Arte di Gucci, even Explosive by Aigner or La Perla. Dark rose, animal breath, oakmoss and leather galore, held together by incense and resins. Nothing of that can be found in today’s Parfum de Peau, an almost transparent and anemic version of the great Claude Montana.
That’s the reason Peau Intense was launched right? Years of reformulations had taken their toll and Parfum de Peau was just not Parfum de Peau anymore.

Peau Intense is, firstly, intense. It’s got a very hefty sillage and all day longevity. The rose is dark and moody, the incense shines in all its cold and churchy glory, and the patchouli takes a wonderful camphor turn as soon as it starts to come to life. It doesn’t turn gourmand nor does it take a turn for the modern “woods” and “amber” that permeate every release for the past 5 years. So, only for that fact, Bravo! But it also has some differences; while the original is civet and castoreum heavy, this version is far less animalic. The leather still shines and the castoreum seems to be solo this time around. The darkness of the rose is still here, but instead of the blackberry touch and highlight, the fruitiness now comes from the orange blossom. Oakmoss ruled before, now it appears as a mere introduction for the hardcore patch. Old formulas had resins among the incense, giving a warmer and more opulent feel, more decadent. Now, the incense is far more pronounced, appearing colder, aloof, more solemn.

But still, I’m enjoying it a lot. So why do I feel it’s redundant? Because it exists.

IFRA, prohibitions, consumer taste and changes, regulations...everything that made Parfum de Peau a shadow of itself are now reversed for this. So, if this formula can be created in 2019, and is IFRA safe, why not simply do a reformulation (again) and revamp the original? Is it such a big seller? Then this change will surely be embraced by fans. Is it a slow seller? Then is a flanker really going to boost sales or bring it back to the spotlight? Why do a new version that smells more like the original than the current Parfum de Peau, put the Intense moniker, charge double and present it like an improved version of the original, when you could have simply improved the original? Fans know what type of perfume Parfum de Peau is, how it smelled, and this won’t attract those who dislike it already. If it’s for the fans, be less greedy. You’re simply saying “we can make the original better, but we prefer to launch a new one, more expensive, more intense, and call it a day”. Had you given Parfum de Peau this formula, even with the updated box, and not called it a new scent, it would be lauded like Mitsouko in 2015 and Wasser’s award winning reformulation.

That said, I still enjoy it. I bought it because the price was less than half of the original retail and even with the smoke curtain, I hope it lasts on the market. And if it somehow attracts new customers, then all the better. Fans of the original will rejoice, especially if they’re not the type to search Ebay for vintage bottles, which still exist and some, reasonably priced.

Original vintage, still easily found on eBay: 10/10
Parfum de Peau sold today: don’t bother
Peau Intense: 8/10

Alex1984 10 months ago
9
Scent
9
Longevity
8
Sillage
9
Bottle

Emerald glow
L de Loewe belongs in the pantheon of forgotten 70’s chypres. The ones that memory and time have faded to obscurity, that little place where Azzaro, Vu, Loewe II and many more haunt me.
Coming out in 1971 or 72 as the debut fragrance of the house, L smells like an expensive perfume spilled inside a good leather bag.
The opening lacks the typical aldehyde slap of the era. Instead, it diffuses neroli with citrus freshness, highlighted by the green notes to come and a touch of aldehydic sparkle. My personal pixie dust!

The heart though is where the magic starts to shine! Green in all variations; verdant, emerald, mossy and inky slopes filled with the bitter bracing touch of galbanum, the rooty feel of vetiver, the forest floor canopy of oakmoss all laced with powdery hyacinth and iris, leathery and animalic narcissus, and a touch of sparkle provided by magnolia! Lily, with its indolic beauty, provides the highlight of floral notes, adding a cast of white shimmer. I’m sure there are more, but the flowers are blended in such a way that they enhance the greenness and avoid becoming the star of the show. The fragrance echoes the idea of luxury, but more city and less countryside. Fidji did it for exotic islands, Aliage made country chic and L simply spilled itself inside the finest leather handbag.

And the basenotes enhance it even more. Rich musks, glimpses of leathery castoreum, powdery civet and salty ambergris provide lasting tenacity and ample sillage all the while maintaining the opening freshness. Elegant on all sides, L could go from shopping, to work, to a dinner party or the opera. Just like Aromatics, another chameleon of a fragrance, L didn’t limit itself to a certain mood or social setting, but it adapted to its wearer making itself at home in every situation. The hallmark of elegance.
Along the way, L fell out of style, although it remained popular in Europe, Scherrer came with a darker and sexier sillage, and slowly the doors of 80’s excess opened welcoming big white florals and animalic orientals. Power scents like Opium, that mystified the forbidden, remained popular, new is always more shiny, and the green floral chypres of the previous decade, with their hopes and dreams, ethereal but fierce, became too ‘country girl’ for the city execs that strutted the dark streets of a neon metropolis inhabited by the big bad wolf. Danger was du jour, and L was not that animal.
Today, easily found on eBay, the vintage edt shines like the brightest emerald. Mostly forgotten, it can shine anew, becoming once again a radiant and elegant signature for the man or woman that loves the likes of Scherrer, Aliage, Y, Givenchy III, Futur. After all, it defies time, gender and settings; elegance is far above that.

Review based on early 70’s original formula edt.

Alex1984 14 months ago
9.5
Scent
9
Longevity
8
Sillage
9
Bottle

Little naughty Lolita
If you ever wondered what an 80’s fruity floral smell(ed)s like, here you have it!
Main difference? Bigger sillage, long lasting and downright sexy.

Clandestine, coming out a year after Poison, was a departure from Fidji and J’ai Osé. And it inevitably borrowed some of it. And from La Nuit.
Starting out plummy and liquor like, Clandestine doesn’t take much time to show what it’s all about. Underneath a short lived metal ray of aldehydes, the top is about fruit. Big, decaying fruit. Plum, peach, a slightly pissy blackcurrant... it’s playful, carefree but yet, debaucherous.
It also crams big bold flowers; tuberose, rose, jasmine...add some ylang with its custardy sweetness and a big dollop of honey, and what you get is a massively indolic heart. Sexy, decadent, narcotic. There’s a powdery veil that prevents it from going all the way...yet.
But the drydown! Oh, the drydown, long and skanky filled with the last remains of honey, carnation, and joined by a big slice of civet and musk, dims the lights and lets the animal out.

Clandestine starts fun and sexy, goes wild midway down the night, ending up in a dark alley making out with a stranger. There’s a ‘Poisonesque’ fruitiness, the same dirtiness of La Nuit but dialed down a bit, and lots of class.
For all it’s notes and progression, Clandestine could just as easily go to a party, to a gala, or for dinner and drinks.
80’s volume, and yet, there’s a bit of elegance taken from earlier decades. The animalic aspect is far more amplified on warm skin, but never reaching the levels of other monsters. A fruity floral with a kick!
Yeap! Just like they don’t make ‘em anymore.

Review based on a splash from 1986 (Edt).
Sillage and longevity? I’ll see you in the morning!

Alex1984 16 months ago 1
8
Scent
8
Longevity
8
Sillage
9
Bottle

The friendly Angel
Angel edt - 2019 version.
In a nutshell, this is Angel after hanging out with LVEB and co, and having one too many apple Bellini.

Underneath, the original Angel edp is still discernible; but it’s been “modernized” for current tastes. I only enjoy (sometimes) the classic vintage edp, but this version is the only one I enjoy from the Angel universe of flankers. It’s still Angel, the green apple note feels quite fresh and adds some breathing space to the heaviness of the original, and it feels more wearable. I find it stronger than the current Angel edp, but it’s not a day long compromise like with the vintage. And the added freshness makes it far more tolerable on those days when the original could start getting on your nerves.

I like it, which I didn’t expect to. It’s not young and breezy like the ad makes you believe, instead, on my skin and nose, it feels like what an edt should be; more or less like the original but with subtle differences and some air. Lovers of the original should give it a try, modern noses will likely feel the same way they feel about the edp.
1 Reply

Alex1984 17 months ago
10
Scent
10
Longevity
10
Sillage
10
Bottle

Scent of a lover
Ravishing!
That’s the word that makes the most sense when talking about Femme, one of Edmond Roudnitska’s finest creations and one of the jewels of Rochas.
Review based on a Parfum de Toilette from the 70’s.

In the early 1940’s, with the devastation of WW2, fragrances sought to bring optimism and joy. Miss Dior was one, joyous and optimistic. Femme was another. But Femme was different; it was more sensual, more voluptuous. Originally dedicated to Hélène, the young wife of Marcel Rochas, it soon won the heart of its exclusive clientele and went public in 1944. Although it was created during a period of scarcity and post war devastation, Femme was incredibly rich, both in beauty and composition, featuring the now famous Prunol base from De Laire. Edmond discovered it in an abandoned warehouse and made copious use of it, creating the signature of Femme, and setting the path for future compositions.

With a strong connection to Mitsouko, the fruity chypre from Guerlain, Femme amplifies the peach lactones, and marries them with stewed apricots and plums and prunes, creating a boozy fruit compote. Ionones, with their violet and rose tonalities, create a sepia haze of deep oranges and browns that shimmer in a silver ray of light. It’s fruity in a decomposing nature, almost rotting, honeyed; and it’s the most erotic ripe fruit accord in modern perfume history.
Femme also makes use of warm spices; cinnamon, cumin (which degrades over time, making the vintage richer but also giving the impression it lacks cumin), cloves, with spicy carnation and a touch of rose and jasmine to create a tantalizing melange that feels warming rather than spicy. Rosewood, civet and castoreum, leather, resins and oakmoss in all its glory...they anchor Femme on skin for hours on end. It’s a candlelit glow, the warm embrace of a loved one finally returning home. Femme is sometimes oriental, more often than not chypre, but always gorgeous and profound. And this worn, lived in sensuality, is what makes her all the most appealing, less cerebral and more human than Mitsouko; they could be relatives, but while Mitsy was brought up among royalty, Femme had to fight her way through, gaining the experience that life brings the hard way.

Femme, like many classics, was inspired by others (Mitsouko) but also inspired many; the rosewood in Habit Rouge is highly reminiscent of the woody accord in Femme. The bergamot, furocoumarin heavy in the vintage, has a dark edge just like in Shalimar, another inspiration that lends certain smokiness to Femme. Quadrille, Jubilation 25, Mon Parfum Cheri...tributes to the artistry of Edmond. Le Parfum de Thérèse; Edmond’s tribute to his own wife.
There is a certain sensuality, eroticism, that Edmond knew how to infuse in his creations. He worked with many bases, he aged ingredients and created his own accords. His signature is complex, multifaceted, and never duplicated. There isn’t a creation of his that doesn’t scream elegance, carnality and beauty. And that’s why reformulations of his work are very inferior; they lack the artist’s touch.

Femme was kept more or less loyal to Edmond’s formula until the late 80’s when it was reformulated to comply with the first big waves of the fragrance industry. From there on, Femme has been losing its chypre character and beauty to slowly become a spicy oriental, which is what is sold today. The complex formulation of the past, with its myriad of ingredients and accords, alchemically composed in a scarce period, as if pure magic, is now a simpler spicy peach that somehow still retains some of its beauty. It’s been facelifted, tummytucked and botoxed, but underneath there is still a glimpse of la grande vieille dame!

Vintage: a spicy chypre, full on sensuality. Impecable, complex, engulfing. Not a single flaw.

Modern: a less complex spicy ‘chypriental’, light on oakmoss and animalic notes, heavy on spices and cumin to make up for lost ingredients.

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