ChapeauClackChapeauClack's Perfume Reviews

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ChapeauClack 7 years ago 7
10
Scent
7.5
Longevity
7.5
Sillage
10
Bottle

To the introvert who favors tannic wines
I recently found myself comparing some of my summer fragrances to my favorite (or not so favorite, I'm smirking at you, Lambrusco!) wines. Turns out, I favor the same qualities in both. This string of comparative thought started in fact with Dzongkha, which I first tried a year ago today, in the sweltering heat of Beijing summer.

Dzongkha turned out to be one of those magical potions which, however much one reads about beforehand, are still pretty much impossible to be fully prepared for. The very idea of trying and describing what it actually smells like is... well, futile, due to the sheer lack of common denominators. It's herbal, but those are not your usual cooking herbs and they do not render the fragrance aromatic. Spicy, but its spices do not make it an oriental. It smells disturbingly natural, but it's not the nature one experiences by simply taking a stroll through the woods. And above all, it is dry. Dry, dry and... tannic. And just like those very dry, very tannic white wines that are almost green and make one's whole mouth feel fuzzy, it is the perfect thirst quencher.

The back story that comes with this fragrance does provide a good starting point against which to calibrate one's nose and brain for the Dzongkha experience. Think century-old trees clutching at the mountain slopes, imagine the sun-baked stones and clay structures that have been exposed to the elements for what seems like forever; feel the wind gently ruffling the wild grasses that grow in a place where none of us is likely to ever set foot, and hear it carry over a distant chant and a sound of the gong. Dzongkha reveals a mesmerizing landscape that somehow manages to shield its wearer from the rumble of the outside world and turn one's gaze inward, to a happy place within.

Given all that, it's probably a safe bet that Dzongkha is not much of a compliment getter or attractant, and as such it's not very well suited for extroverts. However, if you, like me, crave solitude more often than not, it might just happen to become your magic OFF button on the world.
2 Replies

ChapeauClack 8 years ago 14
10
Scent
10
Longevity
5
Sillage
5
Bottle

Nostalgic and Carnal
Wearing Bas de Soie is a case study in nostalgia, carnality and whatever unique subconscious connections may exist between the two in a given person's mind.
Emotions aside, this is a smooth green floral with a dominant powdery iris note of utmost quality. Except, it is absolutely impossible to keep emotions aside while wearing it.
The green and floral notes are woven into a delicate web of leaves, grass blades, rose petals, violets, hyacinths and irises. This accord, comprising the surface of Bas de Soie, reads from a distance as a perfectly clean, powdery floral, slightly reminiscent of makeup and utterly feminine. But below these tangled flowers and out of plain sight, hide the sweet little nestlings with a floury, fuzzy, funky smell all of their own. Once I notice those little birds playing hide and seek among the foliage and blossoms, it's quite impossible to stop thinking of them, and I keep sniffing my wrist just to make sure that eventually they find their way home and are snugly tucked in that floral nest of theirs.
And then there are the silk stockings. But not just any silk stockings. This is the scent of the stockings my grandmother kept for decades hidden away in the darkest corner of that bottomless abyss that her wardrobe was to the six-year old me, along with the fabulous 50's crepe de chine cinched waist dresses, her wedding corsage from the same era, and the scary snake like coil of a chignon allegedly made out of her own virginal braid that she had cut off before her wedding night. Those stockings smelled of floral soap bars that perfumed the wardrobe, a little bit of dust and melancholy of time passing by, but most amazingly they still held on to the vibrantly sensual aroma of a young woman's flesh.
And so it is. Ever so feminine and constantly alternating between the strange, the carnal and the intensely nostalgic, this fragrance is like a living, breathing woman, perfect on the outside, torn up by emotions inside.
2 Replies

ChapeauClack 8 years ago 3
6
Scent
5
Longevity
5
Sillage
2.5
Bottle

The 80's Power Suit of Scent
I own a flacon of this fragrance and am compelled to wear it once in a rare while. It's a bit like feeling obliged to go and meet with that not entirely pleasant half-friend who somehow needs it more than I do. Once I get there, it's not as bad as I dreaded it would be, but still nowhere nearly as good as to make me want to meet again any time soon.

So, what exactly is wrong with Belle en Rykiel, I ask myself time and time again. Upon the first glance - nothing. There's the cuddly coffee, vanilla and amber accord which stays true and prominent throughout the wearing. There are patchouli and woods humming in the background. There's a pinch of soft, feminine heliotrope powder and a smidgen of tart berries. It is in fact rather a lovely aroma.
And then there's that frigid lavender-frankincense thing going on, turning what would have been an amiable fruitchouli with a coffee twist into a strange dissonant medley. And what's more, I can't help but notice one of the woody amber molecules (ambroxan or some such) being used in abundance here, which combined with the frankincense note gives this fragrance too much lift.
It's almost as if the idea of "unisex" was taken too literally, resulting in a confusing mix that is inherently cold and sharp-angled yet masquerades as warm and soft. It's thin where it promised to be rich and arid where it promised to be comfortingly hefty, too sweet for summer and not comfortable enough for colder weather.
So the question remains. When and where can someone who thinks of perfumes as companions, conversation pieces or statements, like I do, wear this peculiar sent-bon?

ChapeauClack 8 years ago 3
4
Scent
2.5
Longevity
5
Sillage
2.5
Bottle

Moms Of Teenage Daughters Take Notice
Extremely chemical out of the vial, this little frou-frou floral was not an easy test ride for me. It took me a whole week of cautiously unscrewing, sniffing and hastily putting away until I finally decided I had to give it a skin test.

On my very warm, olive skin Quel Amour! performs the usual fresh fruity floral routine, oscillating between sweet, vaguely sour, slightly powdery and clean musky. Within three hours it's completely gone from my wrists and what remains in the crease of the elbow is a verdant, slightly sour musk with detectable hints of ammonia. I do suspect the initial vinegary impression, as well as this, is due to certain facets of Peony and Berry accords rather than some vile chemical soup.

One thing that makes Quel Amour! stand out is the high quality rose done with the signature Goutal twist of liquid, viscous green. Sadly, the "unbearable lightness" of this fragrance prevents the regal rose from truly shining for me, endowing it with all the typical anti gravity properties of the modern fruity floral.

I do suspect that a drier, paler and cooler skin would do Quel Amour! more justice, as would someone with a disposition towards lighter, more cheerful scents than I prefer.

I also think this is a good choice for a very young girl in need of some careful steering in the right direction, lest she picks a bieber as her entry-level fragrance and ends up with consequently bad choices later on.
1 Reply

ChapeauClack 8 years ago 6
9
Scent
5
Longevity
2.5
Sillage
10
Bottle

A Sultry Carnation From An Era Bygone
This was probably my first non-mainstream perfume and it also laid the foundation of my perfume addiction. I acquired a flacon of the EdT from local amazon where Carons were hilariously cheap due to sellers' ignorance, and plunged headfirst into online research of the house. Thus I stumbled upon Basenotes, and I suppose you can guess the rest. I've read so much rant about my sweet Bellodgia since! The humble two stars from Tania Sanchez (whose opinions I have thankfully learned to take with a generous helping of salt)... the whole ordeal about it being an altogether different formula than the vintage... all the way to the unforgettable comment from someone at another perfume site implying that Bellodgia smelled like smoked sausage!
Seriously?!?
And yet my love persevered. I loved the sensory assault of cloves, pepper and carnation that had almost made my eyes water upon the first several applications, but, with time and learning, has gone from "just suffocating me a wee bit if I got too trigger happy" to pure unadulterated bliss of a topnote. I adore the soft creamy vanilla-and-sandalwood cushion upon which those carnations rest. I like the pronounced lemony geranium in the heart, so lifelike, so redolent of the red and pink plush-leaved flowers on my grandma's windowsills, so balsamic it tiptoes on the line of medicinal. And finally, I'm smitten by the heavenly drydown. A featherbed of the warmest, darkest vanillic powder. Musky, creamy, and spicy, it melts into the skin until it's completely blended and claimed as the body's own, a skin scent magnified beyond mere sensuality.
This must be what the mysterious, cheongsam-clad Dragon Ladies of Shanghai's demimonde looked and smelled like to their bewildered and bewitched western lovers at the turn of XX century.

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