3 stars: 211 posts

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

Givenchy L’Interdit 2018 : Fragrance Review

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Givenchy the couturier was catapulted into stardom by his work with Audrey Hepburn. Their partnership resulted in one of the most distinctive wardrobes in fashion history, from the embroidered gown of Sabrina to the little black dress of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Equally important was Hepburn’s role in making Givenchy the perfumer. L’Interdit was the first Givenchy perfume, and whether Hepburn wore it or not, she claimed it as her signature fragrance. 

The original 1957  L’Interdit was a floral aldehydic with enough elegance to make one feel dressed up, even if you wore only pyjamas. Think Chanel No 5, but soft, warm and with a delicious strawberry note.

I say was, because in 2005 Givenchy reformulated it. The change was done by perfumer Aurelien Guichard, and it made the fragrance less aldehydic and starchy, but also simpler. Still, as far as updates go, it was decent in that it retained the character of the original. You can read my more detailed review, in which I compare the original and the 2005 version.

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Parfums de Rosine Le Magnolia de Rosine : Fragrance Review

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The best rendition of magnolia I’ve tried was Pierre Bourdon’s Sous Les Magnolias from his eponymous perfume line. It had the lemony ice cream richness of the southern flower, but instead of rendering it photorealistically and flatly, Bourdon structured the fragrance around a mossy-earthy chypre accord. It was a genius decision. Unfortunately, Sous Les Magnolias can be hard to find.

When I read about Les Parfums de Rosine offering Magnolia signed by Bourdon, I assumed that it would be close to his own magnolia.

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Guerlain Mon Guerlain : Perfume Review

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It’s easy to be dismissive of a perfume like Mon Guerlain. It checks off all of the contemporary cliches–fruity-floral, sweet, and pretty. One can almost guess what it would smell like by looking at its adorable pink bottle. And it first, Mon Guerlain indeed smells predictable, a fruit compote accented with citrus and spiced with patchouli. Yet, in perfume, as in life, it pays to be open-minded.

Those who are willing to give Mon Guerlain a chance will find an upbeat, easy to wear fragrance with a solid Guerlinade imprint. How it gets there is the most interesting part.

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Bulgarian Rose Perfume : Under $5

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The Rose Valley in central Bulgaria holds some of the largest rose plantations in the world. The essence produced in Bulgaria has a zesty accent, which contrasts with the lush honeyed sweetness typical of rose oils. It’s the rose of Jean Patou Joy, Chanel Coco, Coty Chypre, Hermès Amazone, and Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau. It’s complex, lush and sparkling.

The carved wooden vials of Bulgarian rose oil have been a familiar sight to me ever since I was a child. I found them tucked in my grandmother’s purse, and I loved how a tiny drop was enough to leave a rose-perfumed trail. When I started working in the fragrance industry, I’d occasionally receive rose oil samples in these vials, and they would invariably make me nostalgic. I promised myself that one day I’d go to Bulgaria and tour the Rose Valley.

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The Different Company Kashan Rose : Perfume Review

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Our recent talk about Mughal empresses, attars and roses reminded me of a perfume I’ve been meaning to review, but it somehow slipped my mind. I mentioned The Different Company’s Kâshân Rose for my FT article about the rose capital of Iran, The Roses of Kashan, but the perfume deserves more attention.

To be fair, it’s not the be-all and end-all of rose perfumes. Kâshân Rose is a bright, transparent composition that seems uncomplicated and linear. Leave the complex stories and intricate turns to the grand roses like Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady, Guerlain Nahema or Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin. Kâshân Rose is about sunlight and pink petals.

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