4 stars: 380 posts

4 stars means “very good,” a fragrance with enough character to be memorable, and enough tenacity and diffusion to be noticed. It may either lack that ineffable “spark” that makes a perfume truly outstanding for me or else it may simply need more time on the market to determine its staying power.

Atelier Cologne Grand Neroli : Perfume Review

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Andy on some of his most versatile orange blossom perfumes. On the difference between neroli and orange blossom (and other fragrances with these notes), please see an entry in our Perfume Lexicon.

It’s often that I look at my bevy of perfume bottles, samples, and decants, and wonder which one I might choose if I could only wear a single fragrance, day in and day out. After some consideration, I’m often apt to think Atelier Cologne’s Grand Néroli would be a perfect choice. My first instinct is usually to think I’d select a perfume that I could be sure would surprise me with unexpected twists and take me on an infinite journey every time I wore it, but Grand Néroli is none such a perfume.

grand neroli

In fact, when I think more practically, I realize that owning only one perfume bottle would require that my scent be interesting yet simple, and versatile enough to suit every occasion while still possessing a memorable appeal. In light of this theoretical dilemma, I don’t hesitate to choose Grand Néroli, because this refined, fresh fragrance always feels like the right thing to wear, no matter what.

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Carthusia Capri Forget Me Not : Fragrance Review

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As we recently talked about uplifting perfumes, we discovered that fig inspired scents can be terrific mood-boosters. So, Elisa reviews another fragrance with a fig theme. 

Fig fragrances usually fall into one of two camps: There’s the woody, leafy-green variety, best represented by Diptyque Philosykos and L’Artisan Premier Figuier (both composed by Olivia Giacobetti). Then there are the jammy, sticky figs, like Mugler’s Womanity and Byredo Pulp. I enjoy both styles, but I had started to feel that there wasn’t much point in trying new fig scents, since they’re always so familiar. We already own a bottle of Philosykos. Fig is fig, right?

capri

Wrong, as it turns out – Capri Forget Me Not from Carthusia, an aromatic, citrusy fig fragrance released in 2012, has reminded me that there are always new ways to use old materials.

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Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady : Perfume Review

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The news of Frédéric Malle selling his Editions de Parfums house to Estée Lauder reminded me that I haven’t gotten around to writing about one of the most intriguing fragrances from his collection, Portrait of a Lady. Why intriguing? Well, consider the name. If it brings to your mind the cool elegance of Henry James’s heroines, then you’re not alone. I also expected something along these lines–ultra refined, sophisticated and feminine. Except that it is all wrong. Portrait of a Lady is interesting precisely because the scent is not at all what you expect. It’s a twist on a Middle Eastern theme, and it’s not all that lady-like.

Picasso-Boy-with-Pipe

If you’ve already smelled traditional Middle Eastern perfumes or western blends inspired by them (Amouage, Kilian’s oudsArmani Privé Rose d’Arabie), then you might recognize similar elements in Portrait of a Lady. It has a generous dose of classical “oriental” notes–sandalwood, amber, patchouli, dark woods smoked over incense, and of course, rose. It has a similar dramatic and mysterious character that makes this perfume genre so distinctive.

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Caron En Avion : Perfume Review

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I’m not sure why exactly I decided to revisit Caron En Avion after so many years, but it might have been inspired by my reading of Miklós Bánffy’s The Transylvanian Trilogy. An epic novel set in the Austro-Hungarian Empire just before the First World War, it paints the vanished world of the Hungarian aristocracy, the era that was quickly coming to a close. There is something equally poignant and nostalgic about En Avion, a perfume created by Caron’s owner Ernest Daltroff in 1932, just a year before Count Bánffy started writing his masterpiece.

caron

En Avion, as the name suggests, was inspired by the first pilot women such as Helen Boucher and Amelia Earhart. It was a luminous but dark orange, dipped in the sweetness of jasmine and the incense-like warmth of opoponax. It was spicy but also cool and mossy. The kind of fragrance that could only have been the product of Daltroff’s eccentric pairings and the era’s penchant for perfumes thick as fur coats.

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Lady Gaga Eau de Gaga : Perfume Review

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Lady Gaga the performer is all about provocation and surprise, but her first fragrance, Fame, was anything but dramatic. When it came to creating Eau de Gaga, the singer was apparently much more hands-on, and for better or worse, offered plenty of opinions. So, what do we get in the elegant black bottle?

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Spray Eau de Gaga liberally on your skin and take a deep inhale. If you expected candies and fluffy musk, then you’ll be surprised. It’s not sweet. It’s not fruity. Eau de Gaga is a green tea cologne, with a big dose of violet. A 21st century CK One, if you will. It has a bright and inviting introduction laced with lots of peppery citrus and green violet leaves. It’s sophisticated and polished.

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