BeginswithaJBeginswithaJ's Perfume Reviews

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BeginswithaJ 7 months ago 2
8.5
Scent
8
Longevity
7
Sillage
6
Bottle

That one uplifting friend that will never let you go
Love fresh summer scents, but bored of Neroli Portofino and your Aqua di Parmas? Here's your next perfume for life!

In short: simply a-ma-zing creamy fresh and dry neroli that lasts unexpectedly long on skin. To some it might lean too much toward fabric softener, to others this is pure summer bliss. Personally, I couldn't keep my nose off the damned thing.



When I was younger, we had this TV commercial for a laundry detergent where a helicopter pulled out a gigantic blindingly white sheet of cotton fabric from a massive washing machine in the middle of the sun-kissed Swiss Alps mountains. This is exactly how I think that commercial should smell. The neroli flowers are so natural and bright here that it reminds me walking through the gardens of Moroccan or Turkish fortress gardens in spring, when all the orange trees are in full bloom. If that doesn't make you happy, I don't know what will.

Néroli Oranger says hello with a tiny dab of citrus notes, without them getting dominant. Then a lot, and I mean a lot(!) of the most natural creamy, bright and fresh neroli I've ever smelled, on a bed of subdued dry chalky undertones to hold it all together. Some jasmin-like notes will peep through after a little while, and it will receive a smidge of floral musky funk once the fragrance dies down. It's like happy cuddles in a bottle.

On the whole though, it's a very linear fragrance. Which is a good thing, trust me! It's no complex beast, but that actually makes it more elegant. The freshness holds up throughout the day and 8 hours later there's still neroli in the air. Even in the morning I could still smell it on my skin almost unchanged, which is quite unique for my dryer skin type that normally soaks up perfumes like a sponge. It sticks to you like one of those water proof band-aids.

the sillage is way more pronounced than most cologne-like scents and seems to pierce the air with determination, without becoming obtrusive. It's more of a gentle but confident caress and takes an impressive amount of time before returning to a life much closer to the skin. Especially for a fragrance this light.

I've tested this for a while now, and am I going to buy this? Yes! Should you? yes!!

BeginswithaJ 7 months ago 2
4
Scent
6
Sillage
9
Bottle

Bond number 'no'
Opening with the most synthetic of synthetic apples I've come across in my fragrance journey, this is not the most pleasant of perfumes. It feels cheap from the start and lacks the depth and complexity we've grown accustomed to with these niche kinds of fragrance houses.

Before the apple settles down a bit into a crispy fresh green one, it's coated with a glue like substance, or other chemical solvents and is quite aggressive and unpleasant to my nose. Luckily that doesn't last too long and stays fresh and bright for a while.

Once the top notes flash off a bit, a musky peach will start to dominate the overtones of this fragrance. It's quite indolic, overripe, leaning towards fermentation. Surely past its prime as a succulent tropical snack. I also perceive hints of raisins and the crispness transfers into a musty sweet blanket covering the air. It reminds me of those raisin-filled snack box cartons we had as a kid as an alternative to candy.

Deep down there are some white flowers, but it's hard to get past the heavy peach. Maybe on other skins this juice is more successful, but even on paper it can't tempt me. I will steer clear of this one and give away the remainder of my sample.

BeginswithaJ 10 months ago 3
5.5
Scent
6
Longevity
5
Sillage
8
Bottle

Playing hard to get
The TL;DR version of this is: If you like the smell of those tiny white blossoms and are not against strong resinous and dry resinous fragrances: you'll probably love this. Otherwise try and avoid. Either way prepare to be surprised by its complexity! It's not your classical easy to wear designer, would categorise it under niche, and your surroundings might not always agree to what you're wearing.

A harsh resinous opening, warm comforting and slightly creamy bouquet of spring blossoms in the heart, warm resins throughout. To me this is for the daring, and borderline unisex. Sillage is ok, longevity not so much.



To be honest I'm quite ambivalent about this perfume. No, it's more like having an internal argument whether or not I like this fragrance at all. But it's warming up to me and after a few times wearing it, I can't say I hate it anymore. I might even go so far as to say I quite like it. Maybe it's a Stockholm syndrome kicking in, maybe it's just a nice fragrance in disguise.

My first encounter with this fragrance punched me in the face with bitter bergamots and a cold, cold resin. These rough elemi-like citrusyresin notes together with a lot of peppery greens are absolutely the first line of defence before being able to conquer the heart. Also a pinch of tartness but less loud than the former two. This is what got me so riled up: The opening is so scratchy and jarring it might frame you immediately into an "ugh, horrible!"-mindset. And you will almost miss the slight saltiness in the background as it wafts through the opening like a soft sea breeze in summer.

But as time moves on, the heart becomes more pronounced and there things warm up a lot. This heart reminds me most of walking through orchards in late spring. When the sun is already warming and with bitter orange- and sweet chestnut blossoms making the air heavy with their heady beckoning calls for the bees and other insects. It even resembles sweet-scented bedstraw to a large degree (yes it's a bit of a reach, but we had those in our garden when I was a kid and remember that smell like it was yesterday). This is the soft hand that rubs the sore spot on your face that the opening had made a while back. But although this is a–for me at least–comforting smell, it's borderline indolic. I would even say it has a creamy nature. It gives off quite a heavy accord, and still has a lot of resinous undertones. Warmer and a bit sweeter resins, but still a lot of resins. This might put people off as well.

In the base: More resins! Quelle surprise! They mingle with woodier notes, some inky notes, and by this time I don't even mind the resinous nature anymore. It's much less complex and interesting than the earlier stages. This fragrance is by far not linear, it evolves massively through time and I respect it for that.

As for the sillage, It's not that great. Stays close to the skin once the opening dries down, and performance wise you'll get a few hours out of this. It becomes a skin scent quite quickly, so don't expect to wow (or annoy) people around you for long. Wear this in spring and summer.

This is certainly not a top-10 designer fragrance, so wear it accordingly. It's a bit daring and maybe a bit polarising as well. Not for the younger crowd, so 30's and up would probably be the safe bet. For me it's unisex enough to at least be worn by our female fragrance fans out there, but the base notes might be a bit too woody for some. I'm still thinking you'll be able to pull it off though.

Now to wear it again and again, so I can finally say it's actually worth more than an 'average' 5.5 for me.

BeginswithaJ 1 year ago 2
6
Scent
9
Longevity
7
Sillage
6
Bottle

Purple is the right color
When I smelled this without reading the descriptions, 'simple gourmand' came to mind right away. I'm getting a tasty cherry blossom vibe. This is pretty much a decent scent, for Zara's standards. An almost edible candy cherry with some almonds, and an above mediocre sillage and projection too! Wouldn't wear this too young though, and I think this is more suited for colder weather but a summer evening would probably suit this as well.

The bottle color matches the fragrance perfectly. With the first spray it's already clear: this is a cherry scent. One of those dark, deep purple heavy smelling cherries. Indolic almost, but with a slightly sour pinch. This I like.

The heart is filled up with nuts: Almonds, or hazelnuts. They complement the cherry quite well. Very deep down there's even some milk chocolate and vanilla, but that's barely noticeable. So were it not for the synthetic resinous nature many Zara fragrances seem to have, I'd actually give this a good thumbs up. Keep in mind: this doesn't smell cheap at all. It can't compete with the niche fragrances, but smells more like a good mid-range designer than a cheapie.

The projection and overal performance is better than the 2020 releases, so that's a plus as well. Bear in mind this fragrance is a louder statement piece so be gentle on the trigger at first.

BeginswithaJ 1 year ago 1
2.5
Scent
5
Longevity
5
Sillage
5
Bottle

Something for your hair
A sickeningly sweet synthetic fruit bomb suitable mostly for teenagers. You could wear this all year round, but I prefer you didn't.

A complete failure to me. This fragrance opens heavy and sweet, with lots of candy fruits. There's a sour note from the passion fruit and it fizzes a bit. It's just so, so extremely synthetic that it reminds me of a cheap hairspray, and almost gives me a headache. On clothing the passion fruit is more defined than on skin.

There's some bitterness in the dry down, which leans more to the resinous than zesty side. Ans a little bit of musk peeps around the corner. It shifts a bit from the candy-like sweetness to something containing citrus notes. There's a hidden flower in there that I can't place that makes it all somewhat softer together with the vanilla, but don't expect miracles. throughout the longevity of this scent the hairspray is still a dominant factor. Don't like. At all.

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