4 stars: 432 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.

Revisiting Hermessence : Myrrhe Eglantine, Cedre Sambac, Agar Ebene

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When the Hermessence collection was first launched in 2004, it was conceived as an olfactory haiku—a few subtle details combined to create a complex impression. I still remain partial to the original creations like Vétiver Tonka and Ambre Narguilé, but the Middle East-inspired trio of Myrrhe Églantine, Cèdre Sambac, Agar Ebène has become my favorite. The compositions are complex and layered, with the classical Hermès radiance.

Myrrhe Églantine, for instance, plays with the shimmering effect of rose, setting it against a velvety background. This contrast has fascinated me from the first time I tried the perfume and the more I wear it, the more beguiling it becomes. The fragrance starts out on a sweet citrus, followed by a dark glimpse of violet. Unexpectedly, however, the notes fuse into an illusion of a crimson rose. When later, myrrh, a plush, resinous material that smells like licorice, woods and unburned incense, stakes its claims, the rose becomes even warmer.

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In Memory of Issey Miyake and L’Eau d’Issey

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In memory of Issey Miyake.

The legendary Japanese designer passed away on August 5th at the age of 84. He changed fashion by creating geometrical designs out of pleated fabrics, loose kaftans out of batik, and his signature Flying Saucer dresses. He also revolutionized perfumery by collaborating on a fragrance that smelled of water.

The iris-perfumed water that served as inspiration for L’Eau d’Issey is based on a custom called shoubu yu. On May 5th, Children’s Day, people in Japan take a bath with iris leaves. The leaves are sold in small bundles to be floated in an ofuro bathtub, and while the symbolism is good health, the delicate fragrance of iris leaves was one of the lasting memories for Mr. Miyake. He explained to Cavallier that he wanted to capture this specific scent in his fragrance.

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Roger & Gallet Bois d’Orange : Perfume Review

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When I was preparing the bitter orange series and researching fragrances that showcase neroli and bitter orange, Roger & Gallet’s Bois d’Orange ended up at the top of my list. I also realized that although I had written plenty about this excellent cologne, I haven’t published a proper perfume review. This is an omission, because Bois d’Orange deserves more attention.

Bois d’Orange blends orange blossom and citrus notes with herbs and the result is a dry martini of a fragrance. This genre of cologne is the most uplifting and rejuvenating on a warm day–or whenever you need a pick-up. It’s easy to wear, easy to enjoy–and at 20 euros for a bottle, easy on the wallet.

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Gallivant Bukhara : Perfume Review

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Gallivant is an indie perfume house that wants to make us travel via its scents. Its journeys have previously included well-trodden places such as London, Amsterdam and Istanbul, but however popular the destination might have been, the route was anything but. Gallivant’s creator,  Nick Steward, likes to surprise, and all of his compositions treat their journeys as adventures. Bukhara is easily my favorite for its originality and intriguing complexity.

Let me say that nothing is easier for a perfumer than to take a city on the Silk Road as inspiration and load the composition with enough amber to break a camel’s back. Steward didn’t do that. He worked with perfumer Ralf Schwieger to create a fragrance that is radiant, luminous and modern. It has warm, dark elements, but they’re woven as seamlessly into the composition as the complementary colors of Bukhara’s famous blue mosaics.

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Penhaligon’s The Favourite : Perfume Review

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I try not to read the marketing material before testing a perfume–and with good reason. If I had learned that Penhaligon’s The Favourite was inspired by Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, I wouldn’t have described it as soft, ethereal and tender. It’s hard to imagine those adjectives applied to the favorite of Queen Anne and a prominent personality of 18th century Britain. A strong-willed woman who wielded power behind the throne, she evokes for me something more assertive than a musky floral. That being said, The Favourite is a lovely thing, and however mismatched its character and its story might be, I’m reaching for it whenever I want something comforting and elegant.

The appealing aspect of The Favourite is how it combines floral and fruity notes with a hint of powder. It starts with a bright and sweet citrus and immediately plunges into a floral accord combining soft, rose-like notes with violet. The effect is delicate, but once the musk becomes more prominent, The Favourite gains more richness.

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Latest Comments

  • Kaisa in Perfume To Brighten Up Your Spring Days: I think you really captured something (sadly) when you said today’s perfumes are designed to be likeable rather than memorable. I would add “instantly” likeable; drydowns are often disappointing. There… April 20, 2024 at 2:56am

  • Klaas in Perfume To Brighten Up Your Spring Days: I just discovered Le Jardin de Monsieur Li! Such a lovely, zingy jasmine! I am not much of a floral guy, but this perfume is such a treat! Spring in… April 19, 2024 at 3:36pm

  • carole in Perfume To Brighten Up Your Spring Days: I’m in L’artisan’s Histiores d’Oranger, which I love. I was a fan of Annick Goutal’s Neroli, and I bought Eascale a Portofino , but this is pretty perfect, since the… April 19, 2024 at 12:59pm

  • Victoria in Perfume To Brighten Up Your Spring Days: I find it very interesting for the exact reasons you’ve described. Another one to add to the list. April 19, 2024 at 12:27pm

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