GreysolonGreysolon's Perfume Reviews

11 - 15 of 88
Greysolon 7 years ago 6
9
Scent
5
Longevity
5
Sillage

L'âme du père et du fils
It’s no secret that L'Âme d'un Héros is a re-issue/reformulation of Coriolan. Even Guerlain was upfront about the change calling L'Âme d'un Héros the “re-edited” version of Coriolan. Furthermore, Guerlain has remained true enough to the original formula that in reviews of side by side wearings of L'Âme d'un Héros and Coriolan the consensus seems to be they are nearly identical. In a general sense this may be true. However the fragrances do differ in many ways, not least of which is that Coriolan has been discontinued for many years (though still available) and L'Âme d'un Héros carries a significant price tag 2-3 times that of its predecessor.

L'Âme d'un Héros and Coriolan open with top notes easily identified as being common to both fragrances. Coriolan’s opening of green herbs and bronzed citrus is, however, more assertive and has greater contrast than L'Âme d'un Héros which presents a blended, balanced and graceful version of the notes. Now, that’s not a slight against either fragrance but I prefer Coriolan’s more dramatic opening. It’s a saber rattling statement of strength and resolve which personifies the historical and theatrical character of Coriolanus.

It’s in the midst of development where, for a time, the two really part ways. It’s also where Coriolan shows some weakness. It lacks the continuity necessary to create an arc from opening to base. While both fragrances share a starchy, papery vetiver note it shows up earlier and is more prominent in Coriolan. The vetiver holds its ground for so long that the development stalls before leather and patchouli finally bring Coriolan back together at its base. Coriolan’s base is dry and leathery compared to L'Âme d'un Héros. Surprisingly, the base is where the fragrances, once again, share their common heritage.

L'Âme d'un Héros also takes time to develop but it does so while maintaining the balance and grace of its opening. Floral notes start peeking through adding contrast to and filling in the gaps left by the receding top notes. It gives the development a sense of direction. When L'Âme d'un Héros reaches its base the florals, spices, patchouli and vetiver come together and manage to be reminiscent of Coriolan’s leather base. But L'Âme d'un Héros has a broader, deeper texture with a touch of floral notes. I must say, aside from the opening, I prefer L'Âme d'un Héros overall. But it’s a close call. That’s where price becomes a factor.

Even though Coriolan has been discontinued for many years it’s still easy to find factory sealed stock, as new, from online retailers. A 30 ml or 50 ml bottle of Coriolan costs $35-$40 and 100 ml costs $80-$150. On the other hand, 100 ml of L'Âme d'un Héros costs 180€/$250. Both are great fragrances and neither will disappoint.
3 Replies

Greysolon 7 years ago 6
6
Scent
5
Longevity
2.5
Sillage

Che peccato!
The English translation, “rice flower”, refers to clusters of tiny flower heads that look like -wait for it- grains of rice and are often used to accent floral arrangements. Like the scent of tiny flowers, Fiore di Riso is an intimate fragrance with the delicate projection of a corsage or boutonnière rather than an entire bouquet. So, even if my theory about the name is off the mark, the name Fiore di Riso still seems fitting for the character of this scent.

The development of Fiore di Riso is something really special. It opens with bergamot laced white florals which are eventually shaded and tempered by marigold and ginger rising out of the heart. Ginger can be smelled clearly as its own note but its spiciness also blends with the florals creating the slight peppery quality you sometimes experience sniffing real flower blossoms.

Then there’s that note in the pyramid called davana.

I'd never heard of davana until I received my sample of Fiore di Riso so I searched the inter-webs for a clue to its smell. The most helpful information came from an article on the blog, Perfume Project NW. The author sent samples of davana essential oil to several of her readers. As you’d expect with any fragrance, their responses varied widely. But a few notes were consistently mentioned: fruit (specifically strawberry and peach), as well as notes I would roughly classify as camphorous (mothballs, mint, medicinal). I gave my wrist another sniff and realized Fiore di Riso seemed to have a nice, round peach note complimenting the florals. Whether it was actually the contribution of davana, I’m not sure. But what I perceived as peach was pleasant and not overly sweet.
Here is the link to the article on Perfume Project NW: http://perfumenw.blogspot.com/2012/04/davana-report.html

By the time Fiore di Riso reaches its final stage it becomes a warm, creamy amalgam of vanilla, florals and sandalwood. It’s not bad, but I found this outcome disappointing after all the promise of it developing into a beautiful and unique perfume. Since the scent of the final stage will be with you for hours and Fiore di Riso is such a delicate skin scent I would find it difficult to justify spending €110/$160 for a bottle. Che peccato!
1 Reply

Greysolon 7 years ago 12
10
Scent
7.5
Longevity
7.5
Sillage

A cult amber
Over the past few weeks I’ve been struggling to write a review of Ambra Nera. But this luxurious fragrance has so many facets I wasn’t able to cobble together a coherent train of thought. Tune your nose to any aspect of this little known gem and it becomes a completely different experience. With that, I decided to throw in the towel and simply list my impressions of Ambra Nera as bullet points:

-If you’re looking for a gourmand amber…
Ambra Nera has an opulent, intoxicating vanilla accord. And I mean intoxicating. I often wear Ambra Nera like a shot of vanilla valium when I want to relax. I smell that deep, incense tinged vanilla and all physical tension evaporates in a swirling amber cloud.

-If you’re looking for an unusual animalic amber…
Ambra Nera has a warm, sweet, yet understated animalic accord. I’m guessing it’s a sweet castor essence. Whatever it is, when I wear Ambra Nera I often have the impression of being enrobed in a warm, luxurious fur. If you’ve ever smelled a mink coat you’ll know what I mean.

-If you’re looking for an amber perfume with an usual note that fits harmoniously with the rest of the perfume…
Ambra Nera is fairly sweet but that’s balanced by a camphorous eucalyptus note. It’s far from prominent but it keeps this voluptuous fragrance open and vaporous as well as providing a touch of overall contrast. Without it, Ambra Nera would tip over into syrupy sweet. Also, I occasionally experience the eucalyptus in concert with the resinous base notes which gives an impression of sweet terpenes found in oil varnishes.

-If you’re looking for an amber incense without the intrusion of an acrid smoke note …
Ambra Nera is tinged with an understated, incense smokiness that balances perfectly with the rest of the fragrance. Tune your nose the right way and the incense notes produce that "medieval church accord" so many people enjoy. In that sense, there is an aura about this perfume that makes me imagine it was created from a very old formula; like it actually dates back to the founding of Farmacia Santissima Annunziata in 1561. Of course, it’s not that old, but there is something of an old soul to Ambra Nera.

-If you’re looking for an amber that will be a distinctive, individual fragrance…
The Swedish website Parfumistan’s Blogg calls Ambra Nera a “cult amber.” In a way, I hope it maintains its cult status. After all, isn’t it nice to find a little known fragrance that conveys something unique about your personality? Since ambers have become so ubiquitous (yes, Sherapop is absolutely right, amber fragrances should be a separate genre) it’s nice to find one that is distinctive and remains a bit of a secret. Every amber lover should try Ambra Nera. Well, maybe not too many of you…
5 Replies

Greysolon 7 years ago 9
10
Scent

The heartbeat of scent
A few weeks ago I received a generous decant of Chamade Homme from a very kind -and very generous- Parfumo friend. From the first spritz all I wanted was to live in Chamade’s scented bliss. Unfortunately, I’m not endowed with a sense of moderation or restraint so it was only a matter of days before the last drop of Chamade gurgled at the bottom of the atomizer. No problem, just get on the world wide web, where you can obtain anything your heart desires, and order a full bottle, right? Wrong. Unless you live in Europe, getting your hands on a full bottle of Chamade is difficult and expensive. Such is the reality of indulging in the world of luxury goods on modest means. On the other hand, if this is the only time I get to experience this beautiful fragrance then at least my nose can die happy. One saving grace is that the original Chamade (pour femme) is widely available at a moderate price and shares several points in common with Homme. Since my wife loves the pour femme version I have the pleasure of experiencing it vicariously when she wears it.

I have a theory about how Chamade works its magic. The crisp, almost bitter green notes combine with black pepper and vetiver to create an aromatic, slightly prickly background that tweaks and innervates the nose heightening its sensitivity to the floral and leather accords. That interaction keeps Chamade vibrant for hours. In my imagination it also causes the scent of hyacinth and burnished leather to pulse from the fragrance, as the name Chamade suggests, like the flourish of a drum roll or a palpating heartbeat.

Earlier I referred to Chamade’s fairly substantial price tag (€180/$250). However, beware of reviews leading you to believe that Dior Fahrenheit might be an inexpensive substitute; you will be sorely disappointed. Admittedly, the two share a similar, distinctive green note but any further comparison will lead you down the wrong path. Fahrenheit doesn’t have anything close to the depth, beauty or complexity of Chamade.

Once again, thank you to my friend who shared Chamade so generously.
4 Replies

Greysolon 7 years ago 6
3
Scent

Sepia tinted memories
You’d be hard pressed to find a perfume lover who has a neutral opinion of the Serge Lutens line. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the fragrances elicit strong opinions on both sides. I think of this divide as being key to the aesthetics of the house: creating perfumes which challenge tradition and make a strong, individual statement. And if challenging our traditional sense of beauty provokes a little divisiveness and controversy then I’m sure it pleases Le Grande Serge.

However, as I’ve sniffed my way through the house I’ve noticed a few fragrances that seem completely out of place in the Lutens’ family portrait. It’s as though they are the middling, introverted children of the clan when compared to their eccentric, flamboyant siblings. They stand out precisely because they lack strong personalities. Unfortunately, Un bois sépia is one of the awkward, shy kids.

My feeling is that Un bois sépia may have been created as a quiet, contemplative fragrance in this family of extroverts. In that regard, including "sepia" in the name of the fragrance seems fitting as a metaphor for melancholy, such as “sepia tinted memories”. Of course, the name was not intended to convey that impression but "sepia" does describe the character of this sad little fragrance.

Thankfully, AromiErotici’s review (below) presents an excellent nuts and bolts description of Un bois sépia. I willingly admit, I’m at loss to describe it as well. Its mousy personality, blended, high pitched accords and lack of depth in the base leave me shrugging my shoulders for anything more to add.
1 Reply

11 - 15 of 88