BronxBeauty's Perfume Reviews
I am usually a fan of Lauder perfumes but I found this flanker pretty disappointing. It purports to be a night-time, Francified version of the jasmine champagne fizz of Modern Muse (not my style but a respectable composition). Instead, it's a tired and overly synthetic one-trick pony -- a not-very accomplished example of the hoary tactic of adding some red notes to make your fume "hot." Maybe this will become the new scent of the junior prom -- who knows? Not for adults.
In 2009, when this fume came out, Penhaligon's tarted up the release with the idea that Amaranthine smelled like the inside of a woman's thigh...I believe Duchaufour was quoted to that effect. That was a tease to create a frisson of excitement, but it's not entirely baseless. The lactonic notes of the composition could be construed to connote female secretions, although the jasmine is a bit too clean to suggest a woman's crack. (More indoles please!) Not a bad perfume, although not a great one. For jasmine, i much prefer Samsara or VCA's Mumure.
This was the perfume that put Maurice Roucel on the map -- a dark floral chypre that Luca Turin identifies as an homage to "the world's most expensive perfume." I first encountered it (in the perfume concentration) in Paris in the early 1980s on the dressing table of slightly bohemian but still impeccably turned out Frenchwoman. Then I thought it was the most lovely perfume I'd ever smelled, better than the No. 5 with which I'd grown up. Poor K has grown tatty over the years and reformulations; how the beautiful have fallen.
Long discontinued, this beautiful, fresh-smelling white-flower fragrance never goes over the top like some of the genre. Honeysuckle is not mentioned in the notes here but that's the general impression; guess it's the combo of orange blossom with lily of the valley. Great Serge Mansau bottle. Can still be found cheaply in minis on auction sites.
Laura Ashley's Dilys reminds me of the slivovitz my Polish-born grandmother used to make with beach plums, sugar and vodka: a homespun concoction with a decadent edge. Grandma's purple home brew tasted rich, packed a punch and drove a wicked hangover. (Fermented in a big jar, it required you to strain out the maggots before drinking.) Dilys, by the firm that smothered the 1980s in motherly chintz, starts out in the potpourri vein and then (probably thanks to the oakmoss) takes a darker, boozy turn: Yankee Candle meets Blue Velvet. If you're into chypres it's definitely worth a try.
It's hard to believe Lanvin discontinued Arpege, one of the oldest and best loved perfumes on the market. It's as if France had discontinued Paris. I have three bottle of Eau Arpege: one from the early 1960s and two that probably date from the 1980s; each has its discrete charms. Here you have the classic formula of a modern French perfume: aldehydes, jasmine, mai rose, ylang, ambergris, civet musk...Chanel No. 5 is crisper and more elegant and modern, but Arpege is warmer and more romantic. Guess it fell out of favor now that young girls all smell like Hawaiian Punch.
This entry says the release year of Spiritual Sky Sandalwood is unknown; a better way to express that might be "lost to the ages." I bought it in oil form in 1975, when I wore it to mask the scent of the marijuana I was smoking at the time; it was great for that. The SS Sandalwood oil I remember from back in the day smelled green, dry and slightly bitter; it had a pungent, medicinal edge like patchouli oil, which was also popular then, and none of the creaminess that I've since come to associate with sandalwood. In short? A cheap version of Tam Dao.
Houbigant Lutece, launched with a splash in 1984 (I remember the advertising featured a ritzy-looking blond), is what you might call a gothic floral: a deathly dark peony-iris concoction that becomes drier and more powdery the longer it hangs on. (Many have noted that it is reminiscent of Ombre Rose Original -- see the darkness motif?) Like a number of fumes from Houbigant's catalogue, Lutece got sold to Dana, which promptly ruined it. Ah well.
No Regrets is a strange bird for the ever-younger-skewing perfume world. A dense and liquor-like fruity chypre (that is, not a young smell), it seems aimed at a past-prime demographic: women who have been around the block a few times and "regret nothing," as the Piaf song goes. (The bottle is covered with messages of female empowerment.) I have no idea who buys it; I've only seen it once at a perfume counter -- at NYC's past-prime Lord & Taylor. For all its fustiness, however, I actually like No Regrets and drained a bottle a while back. But then, I've been around the block a few times and regret nothing.
In the 1980s, Laura Ashley cornered the market on floral prints: floral printed garden-party dresses, floral printed wallpaper, floral printed fabrics for housewares, floral printed everything! For a while, this Victorian tea-cosy aesthetic conquered the world, like the British Empire on which the sun never set. it even extended into... perfumes. Like the other LA products, the LA perfumes were well-made and fussy. And floral, naturally. LA No. 1 in its floral-printed bottle is a high-80s Victorian nosegay -- roses, Iris and jasmine of an amped-up variety. Very well done if you like that sort of thing, over the top and precious if you don't.