1 star: 17 posts

1 star means “poor”–a fragrance that doesn’t last well on skin, isn’t original or well-crafted. Or I may have disliked a perfume intensely for a combination of reasons, which I outline in each individual review.

Givenchy Live Irresistible : Perfume Review

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Following a nefarious example set by Lancôme La Vie est Belle, perfume copywriters have assumed the role of social philosophers. “We live only once,” proclaims the press release for Givenchy’s Live Irrésistible, but I’m not sure why I’d fritter away my time on earth in the company of their fragrance.

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Like many of the recent LVMH perfumes (Givenchy is controlled by the conglomerate), Live Irrésistible seems like a focus group driven creation, where the each component is augmented to be likable. Desperate to please, Live Irrésistible heaps together everything that women are thought to like–a sweet, juicy top note, clean florals, and sweet amber drydown accented with cotton candy, all tinted pink. The result should at least be cute, but somehow it ends up as dowdy and bland.

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Christian Dior Sauvage : Perfume Review

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Replace Alain Delon with Johnny Depp, add a generous dose of Bleu de Chanel in the mix, shorten the name–and voilà, a new bestseller in the making. Although this kind of launch often strikes me as lazy, its make a lot of marketing sense. Sauvage banks on the impressive heritage accrued by its predecessor Eau Sauvage, and what it lacks in originality it makes up with presence. If you complain that perfumes don’t last on you, then look no further. Sauvage will not leave you alone.

dior sauvage

On the other hand, those who would like complexity and interesting stories should take to other pastures. Sauvage offers neither. It’s fresh, bright and radiant, with a pearly toothed Colgate commercial in a perfume bottle. I predict that we will smell many similar fresh-enough-to-disinfect accords in other fragrances in the coming months.

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Tom Ford Velvet Orchid : Fragrance Review

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Big, bold, sexy? Elisa is not convinced.

You can learn a lot from reading the comments on perfume blogs. Recently, I learned the term “freakum dress” from a woman who commented that she was searching for a “freakum perfume.” I had to look up the term on Urban Dictionary: “similar to a ‘lil Black dress’…A HOT ass dress that demands ones attention!”

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I think Tom Ford decided that his mid-range line needed a freakum perfume: something loud and sexy for 20-somethings to wear when they go out clubbing. Unfortunately, it got interpreted as “cheap floriental.” I’ve generally respected Tom Ford’s releases even when I didn’t want to wear them, but with Velvet Orchid, I’m having trouble making eye contact.

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Byredo La Tulipe : Perfume Review

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Niche perfumery is a handy term to encompass brands with limited distribution, but when it comes to quality or originality, it means absolutely nothing. Twenty years ago niche houses comprised just a handful of visionaries who wanted to do perfumery according to their own ideas rather than conventional marketing, but today it’s hard to argue that niche means better.

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What it does mean without fail is more expensive. Take Byredo La Tulipe for example. For $220, you get 100ml of perfume that smells disconcertingly like Febreeze. I’m not intending it as an off-the cuff remark. The original Febreeze scent is sophisticated floral with soft rose and lily of the valley notes. La Tulipe has more sparkle and layers, but at the heart of it is a simple fresh floral. It’s pretty enough, but I would rather enjoy something like this at Febreeze’s price (under $10).

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Caron Piu Bellodgia : Perfume Review

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After reformulating its 1927 classic Bellodgia to death, Caron added a new version called Più Bellodgia. Più in Italian means more, but Caron fibs when promising more of anything with this take on Bellodgia. It’s a pale floral that I imagine more as a shampoo than a fine fragrance.

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Now that I’ve told you how I feel about it, I’m tempted just to move onto something else. But I don’t like to write grumpy reviews without offering further details, and it’s far too easy to be cross about Caron these days. Their classical collection has been dramatically reformulated (to be fair, it’s not entirely their fault), and in the search for a new consumer, they keep releasing perfumes that don’t fit their aesthetic. We all need to move with the times, and it’s a tricky compromise to keep the loyal customers happy while attracting a generation of fragrance wearers who recoil at moss and leather.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Victoria in Chanel Gabrielle : Perfume Review: Very true. September 19, 2017 at 12:56pm

  • Liz S in 5 Ways to Transition Into Fall: The autumn chill has come early to London and whilst I am looking forward to bringing out my ‘heavier’ perfumes, I am really enjoying wearing Laura Biagiotti’s Venezia and Serge… September 19, 2017 at 12:52pm

  • Aurora in 5 Ways to Transition Into Fall: And I’ll quote Lamartine: [Automne] C’est l’adieu d’un ami, c’est le dernier sourire Des levres que la mort va fermer pour jamais. September 19, 2017 at 12:52pm

  • Liz S in 5 Ways to Transition Into Fall: Nora, thank you so much for sharing the poem. It is so wonderfully evocative and melancholy. Just beautiful! September 19, 2017 at 12:39pm

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