3 stars: 210 posts

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

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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Chanel Gabrielle : Perfume Review

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After years of waiting for Chanel’s next big launch, here comes Gabrielle. “A rebel at heart…passionate and free,” exalted the press release, using words like radiant, sparkling, luminous and “purely feminine.” Although Coco Chanel was a talented individual and a major force in fashion, as a personality I don’t find her all that appealing. But then again, it wasn’t the first time the brand relied on the designer’s charisma to cast a spell. Coco, one of the most baroque and elegant perfumes of the 1980s, used Gabrielle Chanel’s nickname and an image of her reclining in her Coromandel-decorated salon. So what’s wrong with Gabrielle?

One fundamental thing. Unlike its namesake, Gabrielle the perfume doesn’t aim for originality. Gabrielle is a shadow of Coco Mademoiselle, with less personality, less character and less presence. Take Coco Mademoiselle, remove all of the bling and earthy bit of patchouli, put it through a laundry cycle with white musks, garnish it with a few white florals—and here you go, Gabrielle.

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