3 stars: 206 posts

3 stars means “adequate,” a perfume that is well-crafted, appealing and has good tenacity, but is not distinctive and memorable enough.

Atelier Cologne Figuier Ardent and Figgy Favorites

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Patricia is in search of interesting fig perfumes.

There are many perfumes that for me weren’t love at first sniff, but which I grew to appreciate over time. Most notable are Chanel Coromandel, whose earthy patchouli was definitely an acquired taste, and Chanel No 5, which I’m approaching sideways through the more modern and wearable No 5 Eau Première.

figuier-ardent

However, I haven’t had many fragrances that were initially a hit but later a miss. Atelier Cologne Figuier Ardent from the Collection Azur has proven to be one such fragrance, and I’ve been trying over the past several months to recapture what I saw in it at the beginning of our relationship. Its opening promises much, but it doesn’t deliver.

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Tom Ford Noir Extreme : Fragrance Review

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Elisa on Tom Ford Noir Extreme and olfactory desserts for men (and not only).

First there was Thierry Mugler Angel, widely credited with creating both the gourmand and “fruitchouli” categories; perfumer Olivier Cresp poured ethylmaltol – the smell of burnt sugar – into a patchouli-heavy oriental base, starting a craze for caramel in perfume that hasn’t much slowed in 20 years. Then came Angel’s counterpart A*Men, also released in 1996, making the world safe for gourmands for men. A*Men smelled shockingly like mint chocolate chip ice cream, but retained its masculinity thanks to lavender and plenty of that same earthy, mothball-like patchouli seen in Angel.

tom ford noir extreme

Since its release, it has spawned plenty of variations. In addition to all the A*Men flankers (including my favorite, A*Men Pure Malt), other gourmand-friendly lines like Hanae Mori and Viktor & Rolf have offered up sweet scents for men. Take HM (1997), a crazy but appealing mix of candy notes, lavender and lemon. Later, in 2000, came Lolita Lempicka au Masculin, a delicious licorice fougère. And the release of Spicebomb in 2012, with all its smoky, leathery tobacco goodness, felt like a masculine gourmand revival.

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L’Artisan Parfumeur Noir Exquis : Perfume Review

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I love a good gourmand. Weaving notes of vanilla, caramel, and other delicious things, fragrances in this genre are my ultimate comfort blankets. The moment that days get shorter and mornings cold, the tray above my perfume drawer starts to fill up with my favorite gourmands–Pink Sugar, Lolita Lempicka, Kenzo L’Éléphant, Parfums de Nicolaï Vanille Tonka and L’Artisan Traversée du Bosphore.

The latter is interesting because the sweetness of Turkish delight and vanilla are balanced by a generous dose of crisp green notes and saffron. Created by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, Traversée du Bosphore is an example of contrasted gourmand I especially enjoy. Wearing it is exciting, because one moment you experience a fresh breeze and the next a voluptuous embrace. This also seemed to be the premise of Noir Exquis, a fragrance by Duchaufour that blends rich notes of candied chestnuts, coffee and tonka bean with orange blossom and citrus.

marzipan fruit

Since Noir Exquis is meant for both men and women, it doses sugar lightly and instead emphasizes the woody, balsamic layers. At first, it’s earthy and nutty, hinting at its patchouli and coffee soon to follow, but there are enough floral accents to brighten up the darkness. Based on the name, I expected something heavy and rich, but Noir Exquis is unexpectedly radiant.

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Miu Miu Perfume Review

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Launching a perfume today requires an intricate–and costly–configuration of product development, marketing, and distribution. Small brands may risk taking their own idiosyncratic course, but large fashion houses usually rely on another brand to create and distribute their fragrances. If they want to make real money, that is. For Prada’s sister Miu Miu, the partnership has been with Coty. It means in practical terms that the Coty fragrance development team weighs heavily on the finished creation, subjecting it to market tests and other scrutiny; after all, the success of it will reflect as much on Coty’s profit margins as it would on Miu Miu’s. In other words, don’t expect avant-garde or cutting edge.

miu miu

And so I didn’t. But I was still taken aback at the wan aura of Miu Miu. I am certain that in its early iterations it must have been more interesting, since it was composed by Daniela Andrier, a perfumer noted for the elegance and polish of her creations (Marni, Bottega Veneta Knot, Prada Infusion d’Iris, Martin Margiela Untitled, all among my favorites). But what I smell on my skin is pale and far from the flamboyant chic of Miu Miu fashion. There is definitely quality, there is attention to detail, but it feels like the numerous cycles of market tests stripped Miu Miu of its more distinctive parts.

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Neela Vermeire Creations Pichola : Fragrance Review

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Elisa on a new perfume from Neela Vermeire Creations.

Neela Vermeire Creations, a small niche line launched in 2012, includes five fragrances so far, all inspired by India and composed by Bertrand Duchaufour. Pichola is the latest release, a white floral inspired by Lake Pichola in the Rajasthan state of India. I’m a white floral lover, and from the great early reviews to the description, the scent sounded enticing: warm, spicy, and complex. But that’s not quite what I experienced.

pichola

Pichola opens with a surprising impression of lemongrass – that distinctive sour/herbal/floral note in Southeast Asian curries. There’s no lemongrass listed in the notes; this uncanny effect must arise from a combination of citrus (bergamot, clementine, and neroli) and spices (cardamom and saffron). At first, it’s intriguing; I’ve never smelled a note like this in perfume before.

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