Pepper: 18 posts

Comme des Garcons Black : Perfume Review

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If you’ve never tried any Comme des Garçons fragrances, think of the stuff you might smell at your car mechanic–tar, machine grease, burnt rubber. Today’s collection includes more than a dozen perfumes, and by and large, they have an industrial, deliberately synthetic feel (even if created with natural materials.)  To some people, these are the ultimate edgy perfumes, to others–smells to avoid.

kandinsky

Whatever camp you belong to, Black Eau de Toilette is likely to be a love it or hate it perfume. The name doesn’t lie–it’s a dark, potent brew. If you’ve ever dreamed of smelling like molten asphalt or barbecued ribs or a cross between the two, then your wish has come true.

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L’Artisan Parfumeur Oeillet Sauvage Fragrance Review

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Soliflorals, fragrances based around a single flower, have a school-marmish reputation. Orange blossom and tuberose have been made trendy (Jo Malone Orange Blossom) and chic (Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower), but the idea of wearing a straightforward rose or lavender perfume still doesn’t excite many women. One might as well ask them to don an apron over a house dress and host a tupperware party. Carnation perfumes fare worst of all. Take a look at any consumer survey at fragrance marketing departments, and you’ll see all sorts of derogatory adjectives next to this classical note–“dated,” “fusty,” “old-fashioned,” or the ultimate insult, “boring.”

L'Artisan Parfumeur - Oeillet Sauvage -  100ml

This is a shame, because it means that those of us who love carnations for their opulent spicy scent get a short shrift. I’ve collected a number of classical carnation perfume bases (mixtures of natural and synthetic notes that are used as building blocks in fragrance compositions) and have been on a permanent quest to find as many interesting carnation perfumes as I can. L’Artisan Parfumeur reissued Oeillet Sauvage just in time for my mission.

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Aedes de Venustas Palissandre d’Or : Perfume Review

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Aedes de Venustas is a niche’s niche. A brand developed by Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner, the owners of the eponymous New York artisanal perfume boutique. In collaboration with several renowned perfumers, they’ve released Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum, Copal Azur, Iris Nazarena, and Oeillet Bengale, all four standing out in the crowded niche field. The fifth launch, Palissandre d’Or, likewise has much to recommend itself.

aedes

The concept is a new take on woods. Palisander, rosewood, is a precious variety, with a bright, crisp aroma that doesn’t resemble a wood as much as a flower. At the same time, it has sharpness and vigor, ideal qualities to weave into woody and oriental perfumes. Rosewood, on its own, is not a common theme, however, so Aedes’s decision to let it strike out solo is brave. Even more so is the request to perfumer Alberto Morillas to make it new and modern.

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Divine Spirituelle : Perfume Review

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Divine is a perfume brand from the region of Dinard in the north of France. It’s niche in terms of distribution, which is pretty much only the Dinard shop in Brittany and a couple of online retailers, but if your definition of niche is avant-garde and quirky, then Divine doesn’t fit. The collection is classically themed and understated. What makes Divine such an appealing brand is quality and polish. Nowhere is it more obvious than in its latest release, Spirituelle.

rose

Created in collaboration between Divine’s founder Yvon Mouchel and perfumer Richard Ibañez, Spirituelle is a rose. If you use perfumery jargon, an oriental rose, which merely means a rose laced with spices and incense. Since rose has a perfect affinity with dark, rich notes, there is nothing particularly unusual about Spirituelle’s theme. It hints at its sultry personality, but it’s still understated and soft. The allure of Spirituelle unfolds when lulled by its mild charms, you wear it to the office and suddenly, in the middle of another long, stressful day, find yourself wrapped in layers of petals and amber. It lingers for many hours on skin, changing ever so slightly, but every facet, every layer of it is delightful.

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Cacharel Noa : Perfume Review

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Cacharel Noa is a little gem that’s easy to overlook on a crowded perfume counter. The bottle with its plastic top is plain, and the perfume on the blotter is sharp and scratchy. But Noa was obviously created to be worn by breathing, living women*, and not just tested on paper, because on skin, the fragrance changes dramatically. It’s a cloud of white petals softly dusted with powder, and it wears like a favorite cashmere sweater.

cacharel

Cacharel has an interesting perfume collection that fits well with the quirky aesthetic of its fashion line. When you wear the ultra-feminine Anais Anais or bubbly Amor Amor, you can imagine how it might be created by the same house that become renowned for its cheerful, bright prints and seersucker dresses. Noa is likewise lighthearted and unpretentious, and its charm lies in its combination of tenderness and sophistication.

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