SherapopSherapop's Perfume Reviews

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6 Awards
Montale PURE GOLD starts out as a fruity-floral blend with a lot of clean resinous musk. I find it somewhat nondescript, especially initially, when I have trouble discerning individual notes... except for the musk which is quite big.

Later this perfume starts to seem more like a nice floral with a slight soapiness. The floral component seems to me to be mainly jasmine. I was thinking that PURE GOLD was similar in some ways to Jennifer Aniston and DKNY Pure, but in side-by-side comparisons I changed my mind. PURE GOLD is much better than those. Perhaps the idea is similar, but in this case we have much better ingredients and execution. JENNIFER ANISTON veers too far in the industrial direction in an attempt to be clean. DKNY PURE has a touch too much woodish aromachemical stuff for my tastes. PURE GOLD is perhaps how those perfumes should smell, but they don't, which is probably why they are on their way out of the stores already...

PURE GOLD is another example of Montale going beyond their area of expertise (middle eastern-inspired oud creations), to produce a decent, if not extraordinary, perfume.

4 Awards
Montale SANDFLOWERS evokes immediate memories of Comptoir Sud Pacifique AQUA MOTU. Something about the algae and the sea water. In waves, SANDFLOWERS has a strange oriental vibe to go with the muskiness. AQUA MOTU is even muskier and perhaps more musky than aquatic. The biggest difference between the two is the juniper in SANDFLOWERS, which is quite marked especially the opening, making this creation seem rather aromatic and the algae very mossy and green.

My understanding is that Pierre Montale was formerly associated with Comptoir Sud Pacifique, I presume as the perfumer. The similarity between SANDFLOWERS and AQUA MOTU may not therefore be my imagination! The bottles are similar, except that the Montale version of the aluminum can ends up looking sleek and niche, while the Comptoir Sud Pacifique version imparts the decided impression of being some kind of budget drugstore body spray. Is it just the trinket on the Montale that makes the difference? I don't know exactly why, but I really like the Montale bottles and really dislike the Comptoir Sud Pacifique bottles.

I am not much for aquatic fragrances, so SANDFLOWERS is not really my kind of thing, but anyone who likes AQUA MOTU is bound to like this composition, which is unisex and even leaning a bit toward the masculine side. I consider this to be an atypical perfume for Montale. It seems more like a vacation scent to me. Maybe it should be called SAND DOLLARS?

4 Awards
Montale SUNSET FLOWERS seems well-named to me, as the composition features dried flowers and dried grass, parched perhaps by a long day in the sun. At the very opening, I do detect a bit of violet, but mainly this creation is not very sweet, despite the green apple note listed in the official pyramid. Could chamomile be creating the grass effect? I suppose. Often I find chamomile to be rather bitter (as in Clinique AROMATICS ELIXIR), but here it smells more like dried grass.

SUNSET FLOWERS is a pleasant perfume, provided that one enjoys the scent of mixed dried flowers and grass. To me it has something of a vintage vibe, and I do find the scent to smell natural. Parched petals and sun-dried, brittle brown blades of grass are what I perceive. Rather like the scent of foliage after a brutally hot summer with no rain for weeks.

7 Awards
I have owned Fresh CANNABIS SANTAL for a while but don't wear it that often as it is a big sillage patchouli fragrance. Big patchouli for me is generally a stay-at-home scent. Tonight after my bath I sprayed this perfume on and was somewhat taken aback at how strong the chocolate note was. Added to that, it reminded me very much of Thierry Mugler A*MEN! Perhaps the first time I reviewed CANNABIS SANTAL I had yet to try A*MEN. I definitely felt that it overlapped with ANGEL, though. Now I am quite convinced that the composition is very similar to A*MEN, only with cocoa in the place of the coffee, and a more natural-smelling combination of basenotes, including musk.

I am aware that these days all musks are synthetic, but CANNABIS SANTAL smells much more pleasant to my nose than A*MEN, which I only wear immediately prior to a coffee bath. The interesting thing about CANNABIS SANTAL is that, despite the quite marked chocolate note, the overall feeling is somewhat masculine, so that must be the combination of the musk and the patchouli, on top of the fact that the chocolate note is really more of a cocoa bean than a bar of candy. True to the house name, CANNABIS SANTAL also smells somehow fresh, as odd as that may sound--unless you've tried some of the Fresh perfumes...

CANNABIS SANTAL is a solid offering from the house of FRESH, which for some reason has not jumped on the bandwagon to launch endless new releases. I do not believe that they have launched anything new whatsoever in a few years, which seems odd, but they have an aisle at Sephora, so I suppose that they are pulling their weight with their small but respectable cluster of "backlist" fragrances. My favorites are this and CANNABIS ROSE, but the citrus scents are pretty nice as well.

I definitely recommend CANNABIS SANTAL for testing by anyone who likes cocoa or coffee notes in perfume and also loves patchouli, as there is a lot of it here. The cannabis and sandalwood, on the other hand, are pretty low key, if even detectable by me.

3 Awards
Montale makes excellent Middle Eastern-inspired perfumes. Most anything with the word 'aoud' in the name is going to be a worthy representative of the ever-growing class of aoud perfumes. Once one steps out of the aoud range, however, everything is up for grabs, and it's anyone's guess what the perfume may be like!

CRYSTAL FLOWERS is a good example of a Montale which might have been a mainstream designer launch. It smells fine to me, a perfectly wearable office-ready, inoffensive fruity-floral frag. The flowers are abstract but not to the point of being unwearable. This composition reminds me of perfumes such as Creed SPRING FLOWER or Bond no 9 CHELSEA FLOWERS, both of which, too, fit into the category of office-ready inoffensive fruity floral frags. This really is a genre by now, and when I say fruity-floral, I mean more abstract floral than fruity, but there is a touch of fruity to give the overall composition a brightness. The musk used, too, is clear and clean, not dark and sweaty. This is a twenty-first-century type of perfume which has gained a legion of followers in the last few years. In some ways it may seem superficial, but it is also likable to many consumers.

Precisely because this sort of perfume is the sort of thing one runs into at Sephora among the current bestsellers, it may not be the wisest investment of one's big Montale bucks. Try before you buy.

1 Awards
I discovered a LuckyScent-prepared sample vial of Sinfonia di Note JARDIN D'ORIENT in my queue, so it must have been sent to me by one of my fragrant friends, since I do not order .7ml samples, as I find them too skimpy. I had never heard of the house of Sinfonia di Note until today, and I have not been able to find out much about them except that LuckyScent apparently now sells only one of their perfumes, and this is not it.

Anyway, to my nose, JARDIN D'ORIENT is not an oriental perfume, notwithstanding its name. Instead, it's a somewhat ordinary dried flower arrangement suspended in the sorts of solvents which I've found more common among Italian houses for some reason. This reminds me of a couple of perfumes I've tried before, one by Lancetti, and another by Sergio Tacchini. The flowers smell natural but dried and mixed. They do not smell abstract, like the bare outlines of flowers being used in many mainstream launches today in place of natural floral essences.

I believe that the flowers in this composition have natural origins--they certainly smell natural enough--but they are somewhat of a chaotic jumble and do not smell like particular flowers. Not really jasmine, not really rose, not really iris, not really narcissus, not really lily. Just "flowers". I definitely would not say that this is a carnation perfume. For that, I recommend Lorenzo Villoresi GAROFANO, a true carnation soliflore--and an excellent one at that.

I find JARDIN D'ORIENT pleasant enough, but not very compelling.

3 Awards
Every time I wear Miller Harris GERANIUM BOURBON, I remark that it leans toward the masculine end of the scent spectrum. It is somewhat bitter and quite aromatic, a bit woody, and not at all sweet. Often geranium is mixed with rose and sometimes red fruits in more feminine perfumes such as Annick Goutal QUEL AMOUR! Here, the geranium is at least unisex if not masculine, and I am bit surprised that it is marketed to women but not men. Probably the pepper and the patchouli are conspiring to make this seem slightly masculine. This is definitely not a "flowers and candy" perfume.

The composition strikes a balance between refreshing aromaticity and lush florality. It's quite complex and smells completely natural with a greenish, somewhat herbal edge. Vanilla and violet are listed among the notes, but to me GERANIUM BOURBON is a huge pile of freshly cut bright red geranium flowers. I definitely recommend this splendid creation to both guys and gals for testing, as it offers a unique blend and the superlative quality typical of the house of Miller Harris.

7 Awards
The Molinard solinotes rarely disappoint me, and PATCHOULI is perhaps one of the best. This is a patchouli perfume for serious patchouli lovers who prefer not to have this sensual, earthy note smothered in vanilla, marshmallow, caramel, cotton candy, and what not. Among the notes is listed vanilla, but truly this is a savory composition, with much more emphasis on the geranium as the primary garnish in the mix.

Depending on the day, the weather, and facts about me, PATCHOULI can have a more or less doughy texture. Today it seems less doughy and more earthy. Under all circumstances this is patchouli for connoisseurs. I find it much more appealing than Lush KARMA or its near equivalent, hippy patchouli oil. This Molinard rendition smells more like a composed perfume, but it is unequivocally and unabashedly PATCHOULI!

A fantastic value at the discounters, the quality of this perfume rivals that of a number of haute niche patchouli offerings I've tried. This is worth having in one's collection to mix with overly sweet oriental fragrances or to amp up the patchouli in anything.

6 Awards
I am laughing at the note "raspberry effervescent tablet" listed for Marc Jacobs OH, LOLA! The scent does remind me of an artificially fruit-flavored soda pop. It's less sweet than that, but the basic idea is conveyed all the same. Reddish berries. Could be raspberries. Could be gaspberries. Could be strawberries. Could be bogberries.

I read somewhere that Ann Gottlieb takes credit for what might be termed "the fruity turn" at Bath & Body Works. All of those fruit flavors apparently emerged with her encouragement and under her creative direction. Here, for Marc Jacobs, Gottlieb has collaborated with two other big noses (why it took three is a mystery to me... Calice Becker AND Yann Vasnier? WHAT????) to produce a fragrance in which the fruits have been given much more emphasis than the abstract flowers. The overall effect reminds me rather of the Victoria Secret Secret Garden line of (highly synthetic) fruity eaux de toilette, in particular the one named STRAWBERRIES & CHAMPAGNE.

To me, OH, LOLA! smells less appealing than most of the BBW bath flavors. From a business perspective, it probably does not matter much what went into the bottle, since the decorative plastic flower cap appears to be why people are buying the fragrances of the house of Marc Jacobs these days.

Not for me.

5 Awards
My opinion of Bond no 9 ASTOR PLACE is relatively unstable. Initially, I was excited by the bottle, until I discovered that the colorful geometrical design was a peel-off label. Then I was annoyed.

Initially, I liked the scent as well. It reminded me of Christian Dior J'ADORE, except that I could wear ASTOR PLACE without feeling ill. For some reason I have a serious problem with vintage J'ADORE. Mine is vintage because I acquired the bottle a long time ago--back in the 1990s--and have never been able to wear it. J'ADORE has since been reformulated, and perhaps I could wear the reformulation, but I'll never know since I have no intention of buying any reformulated perfumes at this point in history, least of all from LVMH.

It's probably about time that I start up a decanting business and divvy up my nearly 100mls of J'ADORE into tiny decants to sell at a 10,000 percent profit. It is vintage, after all!

In all seriousness, I recognized that ASTOR PLACE was a big fat fuzzy freesia bomb, but since I am not like Anna Wintour, the all-powerful Editor of Vogue, who hates freesia--at least according to the film "The Devil wears Prada"--I rather liked this clean freesia bomb. Until my sister came to town.

I wore ASTOR PARK to pick her up from the airport a couple of years ago, and when I gave her a welcome hug, she immediately withdrew and complained, "That doesn't smell like my sherapop." (Well, except that she used her moniker for me, which is not "sherapop" but some other name also not identical with my given name. If the truth be known, no one who actually knows me calls me by my given name--so, my perfumista friends, you are not alone!)

My sister was working from a memory from ancient history back when I always smelled like Oscar de la Renta OSCAR. I mean ALWAYS, because it was my signature scent for about four years. That was back in the good old days when I still believed in perfume monogamy. Now I'm as promiscuous as they come.

So after that fated freesia day at the airport and my sister's annoyed response, I was hesitant to wear ASTOR PLACE again, because my sister must be like Anna Wintour, at least in one way, and I was a bit afraid to annoy other people whom I might encounter while wearing the freesia festival which ASTOR PLACE is.

This afternoon I wore ASTOR PLACE out to run some errands, and I have to say that it smelled very good. Most of the Bond no 9 perfumes appear to have been made to wear in New York City. They are all clean and smart smelling, and ASTOR PLACE is no exception to the rule. No super sticky fruity messes or indolic or sweaty musky stuff is to be found in any of the Bond no 9 bottles. That's because The City provides all of those scents for free!

Freesia is the key word here. Resinous, perfumey freesia. ASTOR PLACE, my fragrant friends, is your made-to-measure freesia litmus test, so do give it a sniff!

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