Perfume Reviews: 750 posts

Perfume and fragrance reviews appearing on Bois de Jasmin

Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi : Perfume Review

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Mandarins smell unlike any other citrus fruit. Cradled inside their zesty, bright aroma is a sweet orange blossom, and this nuance gives mandarin essence complexity and richness. (For fragrance nerds: this orange blossom note is given by methyl anthranilate, an aromatic compound also present in Concord grapes and wild strawberries.) Because of its sweetness and juicy effect, minus the strident sharpness, mandarin is used in many fragrances as a top note. It’s inviting and refreshing, and it works in many different contexts.

tom ford mandarino

By contrast, mandarin based colognes are less common, with bergamot, orange, and lemon forming the trifecta of favorite cologne citrus. Mandarin can be used generously, but I have often craved more than most colognes offer. And here comes Mandarino di Amalfi by Tom Ford.

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Viktor & Rolf Bonbon : Perfume Review

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I divide the contemporary fragrance world into the children of Thierry Mugler Angel and the children of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue? Well, the Angel clan can welcome a new sibling, Viktor & Rolf Bonbon. A textbook gourmand, Bonbon is exclusively for the lovers of sweet. If you like your cotton candy with a dose of peach syrup, then you’re in  for a treat. If not, then you can count on a headache.

bonbon

When Angel was launched in 1993, its caramel and vanilla overdose was so novel that it at once attracted and repelled. “It’s not a perfume, it’s a flavor blend,” said some perfumers. “Unsophisticated, vulgar, crude,” said others. But after a slow start, Angel proved that it had much more than sweetness and that it could create a new family of perfumes. Today, over-the-top vanilla and caramel are nothing new, and as Bonbon demonstrates, they make a commercial, easy to like scent. We’ve been well-trained by Angel.

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By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses : Fragrance Review

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Elisa on a surprising marriage of rose and coconut.

By Kilian, founded in 2007 by cognac heir Kilian Hennessey, is a luxury brand whose perfumes are organized into several concept collections: L’Oeuvre Noire, or Black Masterpiece, with 11 fragrances including gorgeous florals like Beyond Love and Sweet Redemption; Arabian Nights, with five variations on oud; Asian Tales, featuring lighter, more aquatic scents; and In the Garden of Good and Evil, a more feminine collection bottled in white flacons.

kilian

Both Victoria and I have found several scents to love in these collections. But for all its attractive qualities, By Kilian could perhaps be accused of playing it safe. Without exception, the line is thoughtfully composed (by perfumer Calice Becker) of high-quality materials. What they are not, for the most part, is weird. The goal of these fragrances is to provide a very beautiful, well-made rendition of a familiar idea – the rose oud, the lavender vanilla – not to shock or surprise. (See Etat Libre d’Orange for an example of a line that sometimes favors shock value over beauty.)

But Liaisons Dangereuses  (part of the L’Oeuvre Noire collection) breaks the pattern, and “dangerous liaison,” or dangerous affair, is a useful metaphor, as it combines two notes that in theory could be disastrous: rose and coconut. It’s surprising because it’s so unexpected, and even more surprising because it works.

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Caudalie Parfum Divin : Perfume Review

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“If you like Huile Divine, you should try Parfum Divin,” said the red lipsticked Caudalie sales associate at the local pharmacy, looking bored as she enumerated its features, carefully folding her manicured fingers one by one–trendy scent, big sillage and the fact that it smells exactly like the dry oil.

caudalie

Since Caudalie’s Huile Divine is easily as fragrant and tenacious as any perfume, I didn’t understand why the last point was a draw. Wouldn’t it make sense just to buy the dry oil and have not only the perfume but also a terrific skincare product? But what the beautiful Caudalie rep didn’t mention was that Parfum Divin follows the same idea of Nuxe’s Prodigieux, Le Parfum–take the aroma of the cult favorite dry oil and turn it into perfume.

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Estee Lauder Knowing : Fragrance Review

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Estée Lauder Knowing blends roses and moss, one of Elisa’s favorite perfume pairings. She revisits this glamorous and plush fragrance today.

There’s just nothing like a rose chypre. Though the perfume world has given me no shortage of beautiful options in this moss inflected category, there’s something about it that feels endlessly variable to me, and if I ever had the money and good fortune to commission a bespoke fragrance from a great perfumer, the perfect rose chypre is what I would chase.

knowing

As luck would have it, this category hasn’t yet been ruined by time or perfume regulations (unlike, say, lily of the valley). The classical chypre accord, traditionally a harmony between bergamot, oakmoss, and labdanum, is harder to achieve since oakmoss was identified as an allergen in 2001. But perhaps because rose plays so nicely with earthy materials like patchouli and vetiver, only a touch of the now restricted oakmoss is needed to create a dramatic effect. So, for example, Francis Kurkdjian’s Lumiere Noire Pour Femme (2009) is almost as beautiful as L’Arte di Gucci (1991).

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